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The 10 Worst People to Sit Near in a Restaurant

The 10 Worst People to Sit Near in a Restaurant

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Some people can make a visit to even the finest restaurant a miserable experience

Seriously, people are trying to enjoy their meal two feet away from you.

We all have a vision in our heads of the perfect restaurant experience: we float in, are greeted with a warm smile, seated promptly, and served expertly prepared food by a wait staff that caters to our every whim. But in an effort to fit as many people as possible into an oftentimes small space, restaurants oftentimes seat parties so close to each other that there’s high potential for that one inconsiderate banquette-mate to spoil a meal for everyone. We’ve rounded up the ten worst people to sit near at a restaurant, and if you look around and don’t see one of them, it might just be you.

The 10 Worst People to Sit Near in a Restaurant (Slideshow)

Everyone’s threshold for being annoyed is different. Some manage to maintain an otherworldly sense of serenity even when confronted by annoyances that would drive others to madness. Others get annoyed even by the sight of a child at a restaurant, even if he or she is on their best behavior. But there are certain nuisances; especially when you’re trying to enjoy a peaceful meal, that just get your goat.

When you’re sitting near someone who’s annoying the heck out of you at a restaurant, there are a couple options you can take. You can always turn and ask the offending party to stop being so annoying, but do this at your own peril: supremely annoying people also seem to enjoy defending their right to be supremely annoying, and will most likely turn it around and say that you’re the annoying one, which is not only confusing, it’s also more annoying. Another option is to simply move, but if they sit down when you’re halfway through your meal getting up and moving to another table will not only call a lot of attention to yourself, it’s also annoying to do and will annoy the wait staff as well.

The option that most people take when faced with intolerable fellow diners is to quietly deal with it during the meal, only to gripe all the way home about how much that person ruined your meal. It’s a sad fact of life that sometimes we have to do our best to tune out the things that annoy us and try to focus on the positive. If all else fails, at least you can give them the evil eye.

Click here to read all about the 10 worst people to sit near at a restaurant!

10 Worst Restaurant Fails

There's a certain excitement in the air when a new restaurant opens up in the neighborhood. Finally, a reason to leave the house. However, not all eateries are worthy of you escaping from your bubble of Netflix and Facebook "Likes." Some of them are downright failures in every conceivable way possible. Here are the worst of the worst of these sad experiments in eating displeasure, the biggest successes in failure-dom, if you will.

Photo By: Punit Paranjpe / Reuters

Photo By: Lars Kienle ©Lars Kienle

Photo By: Joe Klamar ©2013, AFP

Death Row Dinners - London

These chefs decided to open up a death row-themed eatery. What could possibly go wrong? People have no problem with macabre restaurants, but something about making light of the death sentence rubbed people the wrong way. It was forced to sentence itself to death almost immediately.

Hulk Hogan's Pastamania! - Bloomington, Minn.

The Hulkster tried his hand at this fast-food Italian eatery that made Fazoli's look like Spago. It featured classic items such as "Hulk-U's" and "Hulk-a-Roos." Even though it got some free plugs on wrestling programs, it still closed within a year. Sorry, Hulkamaniacs.

American Delight & Taste of Africa (Plus Mexican Food) - Rockford, Ill.

When you have to stare at a restaurant's name for a few minutes just to understand what is going on, it's never a good sign. This American and African (plus Mexican) eatery is, sadly, closed. Now you'll never to taste that plate of hot dog-and-peanut stew nachos.

Dans le Noir? - New York City

They say that, primarily, you eat with your nose. However, what about your eyes? Isn't looking at food also important? Heck no, according to the creators of this "dining in the dark" restaurant. The food was expensive and tasteless, and, oh yeah, you couldn't see a dang thing. Guess what? It's now figuratively lights out, too.

Hitler's Cross - Mumbai, India

When you think of the madman behind the Holocaust, you no doubt think of fine dining. This restaurant had it all: delicious food and, of course, swastikas. Within a week, the restaurateurs changed the name and eliminated all references to the Nazi Party. Score one for good taste.

's Baggers - Nuremberg, Germany

With a name like 's Baggers you'd expect anything but an eatery that is completely staffed by robots. That's right. No people worked at this restaurant. Also, no people went to this restaurant. It closed. It looks like people who need people are the luckiest people, after all.

Buns and Guns - Beirut, Lebanon

Ah, nothing beats the smell of napalm frites in the morning. This military-themed restaurant not only went as far as to name their dishes stuff like "rocket-propelled grenade," they even had a constant loop of gunfire going as the soundtrack. This could be the only restaurant in the world that caused its employees to get PTSD. Oh yeah. It closed down –– something about people wanting to forget about the horrors of war while eating.

Magic Restroom Cafe - City of Industry, Calif.

You read that right. It's the restaurant/restroom hybrid absolutely nobody was waiting for. Toilets for bowls? Check. Toilets for seats? Check. Urinals all over the place? Check. Closed due to an absolutely grossed-out customer base? Check.

Hybird - New York City

This fried-chicken joint had everything going for it: a swank location in Chelsea Market, backing by a renowned chef and Roots drummer Questlove, and chicken that was actually known to be pretty decent. The problem? It was mind-numbingly expensive. A bucket of chicken, with no fixings, clocked in at a massive $41. It closed in six months.

Colony Cafe - Miami

This Miami eatery regularly finds itself atop "worst restaurant in the country" lists and is the lowest-rated restaurant on all of Yelp. Why is it so bad, and how does it stay in business? According to some, it's by constantly changing the name so as to confuse people –– among other shady tactics. Classy!

Fried Thai rolls

High in fat and needless calories, fried Thai rolls are no friend of healthy diets. Like the spring rolls you would find on Chinese and Vietnamese menus, this oily deep-fried appetizer gets your meal started on the wrong foot. Deep frying foods in saturated and sometimes trans fats greatly increases your risk for high cholesterol and heart disease.

If you're looking for a healthier alternative to Thai rolls, try ordering a plate of fresh summer rolls, which consist of veggies or seafood enclosed in soft, delicate rice paper. No frying means you can enjoy the fresh flavors of authentic Thai food minus the guilt and potential heart attack.

Bacon Double Cheeseburger

The Count: 858 calories, 50 grams of fat, 1,764 milligrams of sodium

Plan on walking for nearly 4 hours if you want to work off the calories you’ll gain with this guilty pleasure. In addition, this meal easily hits your daily 20-gram limit of saturated fat. To cut the calories, consider veggie patties, turkey burgers, or grilled chicken instead of beef, or ask if it can be served on a lettuce wrap instead of a bun.

Keep up your hand hygiene, of course.

Proper hand hygiene isn’t just about washing your hands for 30 seconds it’s also about washing your hands frequently—and making sure you always do it at certain times, like before you eat, Dr. Choi says. Eating is an easy way to accidentally transfer germs from your fingers to your mouth, eyes, or nose. So washing them before you eat (or using hand sanitizer) can help keep you safe.

To be clear, this was always the advice from public health authorities, even pre-coronavirus. Hopefully, this reminder is redundant and you’re just sitting there thinking, Gosh, obviously, I already do this flawlessly! But now, with COVID-19 hanging around, it’s especially important to keep it up.

NJ restaurant accused of racist double standard in dress code — again

A New Jersey man is considering legal action after what he said was a "blatant" instance of a racist double standard involving the dress code of a Jersey City bar that has been under fire in the past for its dress code.

Charles "CJ" Pace, 26, said he was at The Ashford for lunch with friends Keziah Jones and Andrece Brady around 4 p.m. on April 10 when they were told they could not come inside because he was wearing "joggers" sweatpants, so they had to dine at a table outside.

Pace had no issues with it until he saw a group of white men in sweatpants and backwards hats walk right into the restaurant without being stopped at all, which he filmed on his phone.

"At first I saw other people dining outside, so I said, 'OK cool, if this is the dress code, I totally understand,''' Pace told TODAY Food. "Then we sit outside and I'm facing the door, and we see these guys walk right in. It felt so blatant, so disrespectful."

The artist and model from Newark then posted the video on Twitter and Instagram, where it has been viewed more than 700,000 times combined.

being black in america is being told you can’t come inside of an establishment because you have on sweatpants but you can sit outside, and as you sit outside you watch white people walk smoothly inside with sweatpants and hats to the back. dont support TheAshFord in JerseyCityNJ

— CJ. (@dudebeyourself) April 11, 2021

"Being black in america is being told you can’t come inside an establishment because you have on sweatpants, but you can sit outside.. and as you sit outside, you watch white people walk in smoothly with sweatpants on," Pace wrote.

"How would you feel? and then to make it worse, we ask for the manager and he tells us he wouldn’t really make it a big deal & can he offer us a round of shots to make it better.. wtf? he also chuckled when i brought up my social media platform, i wonder if it’s still funny now? .. what a shame! @theashfordjc to think i was gonna have my birthday dinner here! TUH , not when the dress code only applies to my people."

Pace said he mentioned the situation to a security guard outside thinking he would rectify it.

"He started walking toward the door, and I thought he was about to tell them they couldn't come in, but instead he's like, 'I hope you guys don't think pointing this out to me is gonna change anything," Pace said. "For you to even say that, you just wanted to say something snarky to us.

"That's when I knew for a fact that they were about to let (the white men) in, so that's when I started recording."

The owners of The Ashford, Kenneth Caulfield and Jeff Lam, did not respond to a request for comment from TODAY but issued a statement on Instagram three days after Pace posted his video.

The statement did not specifically mention the incident, and the restaurant has appeared to have turned off the comments on its Instagram account.

"The Ashford and Six26 has a multi-racial ownership group, employs a multi-racial team, and serves a multi-racial community," the statement said. "We are ANTI-RACIST. We will take action internally to ensure every team member meets this standard everyday."

Pace said the restaurant has not reached out to him, but he has received an outpouring of support on social media and others sharing their own stories of racial discrimination at The Ashford.

"Especially the climate that we're in as far as race, people are very sensitive to this," Pace said. "People I didn't even know were taking this personal for me."

He also noted that the restaurant's statement made no apology or acknowledgement of what happened.

Secrets from the Host Stand: 10 Things a Restaurant Host Wishes They Could Tell You

Restaurant hosting is a difficult job. As members of the League of Underappreciated Workers, they join audio engineers, bus drivers, and registered nurses as those who are only acknowledged on the rare occasions that they screw things up. It's a rough go, and hosts and hostesses are expected to do it all with a smile on their face lest they publicly suffer the wrath of the dreaded Yelper.

What's going on behind those smiles at the host stand? Service with a smile is the name of the game, but find out what the hosts are really thinking. I spoke with several hosts at restaurants all over the country to get inside their heads. They all wished to remain anonymous, but here's what they want to tell you:

1. On OpenTable

OpenTable is more than an online reservation-making service—all restaurants you see on the website are required to use the company's proprietary floor management system, which means leasing hardware and using OpenTable-specific software. What the service offers, beyond the obvious ease-of-use benefits to restaurant-goers, is a solid platform within which the host or hostess does most of their work.

And while the conveniences of OpenTable are helpful on both sides of the host stand, there's a big secret most restaurants are afraid to tell you: they'd rather you not use it. Reservations made through OpenTable cost the restaurant a dollar per guest, which stacks up quickly over the course of a night that might see several hundred guests coming through the doors. Further, not all available reservations can be seen on the site restaurants often hold tables back from the site when they suspect they can fill them with phone reservations, saving them from OT's service fees.

In short, always try first to call in your reservations.

2. On "We Cannot Seat You Until Your Whole Party Is Present."

Many restaurants implement this policy, which has a tendency to rub people the wrong way. Here's why they do it: people are amazingly flaky, and restaurants lose tons of money because of it. If a restaurant seats your party at a four-top, and the other half of your double date decides not to show, they've now left two seats empty for the next two-plus hours.

It happens more often than you'd think, and empty seats hemorrhage money. In the comments section of this article, San Francisco food critic Michael Bauer incites debate amongst his readers on this topic and one thing is clear: restaurants aren't good at communicating why this policy is in place. Probably because it makes them look like cheapskates.

3. On "Camping," or Sitting at Your Table for a Longer-Than-Normal Time

"It's okay if you're going to be a while," said a nameless hostess from Austin, Texas. "Just let us know so I can do my job." On busier nights, the host is playing a game of statistics—with a limited number of tables of a certain size, seats are reserved based on an average meal time of around two hours (dependent on the type of dining). Not knowing when a table will leave gives a lot to chance, and can result in long waits for those with reservations. This makes the host and restaurant look bad and puts a bitter taste in the mouths of customers. Comped glasses of prosecco only go so far to wash that taste out.

Wait times are often gauged in terms of where seated tables are in their meals, so if you're planning on talking with fellow guests over a long cup of coffee after you've received your check, tell someone. The more you can do to communicate your plans with your server (who will relay that information to the host stand), the better for everyone involved.

4. On Cancellations

It may seem like a minor thing, but your cancellation can save a restaurant a lot of money. Canceling a reservation just 15 minutes before it was scheduled will offer an extra half hour or more in which the host(ess) can give that table to other guests (the 15 minutes before the reservation plus the 15 or so they would hold it hoping you'll show up late). That can easily mean another turn (that's restaurant-speak for "use by a customer") out of that table for the night. The larger the party, the higher the stakes.

5. On Same-Siders

Everyone appreciates a good love story. Everyone, that is, except your host. "Same-siders" are what some call the lovey-dovey guests that sit on the same side of their two-top rather than across from each other. Aside from the fact that this can crowd valuable banquette seating, making other guests uncomfortable, it usually indicates a much longer table time, as couples like this tend to be more excited to gaze longingly into other's eyes than at the pork chop in front of them.

6. On Seating in an Empty Restaurant

Just because the restaurant is half-empty now, doesn't mean it will be in 20, 30 or 40 minutes when the 7 o'clock rush hits. If you're walking in, you can't expect to grab any empty table, no matter how many there appear to be. "Even worse are the people that just waltz right in and walk in," bemoaned our Texan hostess. "How would you feel if the table you reserved was given away 20 minutes before your reservation?"

7. On Entitlement

"Man, people are so entitled," lamented a hostess from an Oakland, California, restaurant. "Remember that they call you a 'guest' for a reason. Act as such." In fact, many of the hosts I asked for contributions here brought up the word "entitlement." Understanding the challenges of running a restaurant will go a long way toward improving your experience.

8. On Non-Eaters

Are there going to be non-eaters in your party? Let your host(ess) know. Some restaurants have (arguably excessively strict) policies that require all guests be dining to receive a reserved seat. It's better to figure this out when you make the reservation than to be disappointed when you arrive.

9. On Dietary Restrictions

On a related note: make sure the restaurant knows of any dietary restrictions your party has at the time the reservation is made. A San Francisco host shared this story: "We actually had a five-top come in last week and each customer had a different dietary restriction: one was a pescatarian, one was vegan, one was lactose-intolerant, and two were gluten-free. We had to jump through some serious hoops for this table to leave happy, and it came at the expense of other customers." While this is an extreme example, most restaurants are happy to accommodate dietary restrictions, as long as they have some forewarning.

10. On Being the Last Table

Remember that if you're the last table still seated after a restaurant has closed, the likely-minuscule profit they are making from your meal will evaporate quickly in the face of extended labor costs. An extra half hour as the last table in a restaurant could cost a restaurant five or more man-hours in labor, which could very well exceed the number on your bill. While it is well within your rights to stick around, and smart restaurants will absorb this as a cost of doing business properly, don't forget that this is a business of dollars and cents, especially if it's a small business you love.

Note: All opinions in this article reflect only those that anonymously contributed their thoughts to the author. None of the opinions were gathered from any employees of the restaurants with which the author is associated, nor do they represent the opinions of said restaurants.

How we determined the worst places to live in New Hampshire for 2021

To figure out how bad a place is to live in, we only needed to know what kinds of things people like and then decide what cities have the least amount of those things.

  • Good education
  • Lots of jobs
  • Low crime
  • Low poverty
  • Nice homes
  • High incomes
  • High population density (Lots of things to do)
  • Short work commutes
  • Health insurance

We broke crime down into violent crime and property crime to give violent crime a larger weight -- if you did a simple calculation of all crimes per capita, property crimes are normally 7x more common and really bias that ranking.

Furthermore, only cities with at least 5,000 people were considered -- leaving 26 cities.

We then ranked each city from 1 to 26 for all the criteria with a #1 ranking being the worst for the particular criteria.

Next, we averaged the rankings into one "Worst Place To Live Score".

Finally, we ranked every city on the "Worst Place To Live Score" with the lowest score being the worst city in New Hampshire -- Rochester. Read on for a detailed look at the 10 worst cities in New Hampshire. You can download the data here.

This list is a scientific analysis based on real data and is completely unbiased.

4 Abandoned Gas Masks

Exploring Pripyat in Ukraine&mdashthe site of the worst nuclear disaster in history&mdashis a horrifying experience in general. It is now a ghost town with abandoned buildings that won&rsquot be inhabited again for a long, long time to come. And it has that dilapidated look we here at Listverse thoroughly love.

However, the creepiest sight in the whole town has to be the room full of abandoned masks, which is saying a lot in a town full of creepy sights. We don&rsquot know if it&rsquos so disturbing because there are so many of them or that they&rsquore child-sized and located inside an abandoned school.

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3. Processed Baked Goods

So convenient, so tasty (if we're being honest here), but so not worth it. Those pre-packaged mini muffins, doughnuts, and dessert cakes will add tons of calories and loads of unwanted sugar to your diet, plus these worst foods to eat aren't easy to digest.

"These are bad on so many levels, because they are filled with high sugar content and preservatives for a longer shelf-life&mdashthey can literally sit there forever," says Dr. Tanzi. "Sugar increases inflammation in the skin, which on top of irritating acne and rosacea, can make you look puffy and bloated. Skip the wrapped stuff and grab fresh fruit (or fruit sushi if you&rsquore feeling adventurous!) for a sweet fix instead. (Related: Read This Before Going On a Low-Sugar Diet)