35 Comments

  1. @Olivier, I’d say “incorrectly colored plague doctor mask.”

    Busboys get tips, but not directly. At most restaurants the waitstaff share tips with the bussers.

  2. I could get behind the Medieval theme, but the plague mask and the fake axe in the busboy’s head seem a bit too “Halloween” for a restaurant.

  3. Yeah but look at the restaurant’s logo. They’re obviously going all-in on the “medieval times were BRUTAL” theme.

  4. At least they are TRYING to be historically correct; this is especially important for those who are yearning for the “Goode Olde Dayes”, as so many are . . . not realizing they were actually “Badde Olde Dayes”.

    I’m waiting to see if the “serving wenches” are wearing bodices that encourage bosoms to fall out, as so popularly shown in movies.

  5. I am deeply, deeply do you hear? offended at this blatant face-shaming. The poor waiter doesn’t have enough problems with such an unusual nose?

  6. I rather like the axe-in-the-head get-up, but then again I would probably also eat at a Steve Martin-themed restaurant. I’d order the jerk chicken with the wild-and-crazy fries…

  7. @ carlfink – My brother used to say that (as a waiter) it was extremely vital to share a proper percentage of tips with the restaurant’s bartender, to make sure that drink orders were fulfilled quickly and accurately.

  8. A plague mask. ….. I was not aware those existed although I had seen weird images of them in paintings and other cultural references but I never consciously thought about them.

    Apparently news to me, but plague masks had long beak like protrusions which would be filled with aromatic items to protect the wearer from putrid air.

    I did not know that. but it explains why I have seen that image so frequently. I never consciously thought about it but I think in the back of my mind everyone was trying to represent a Poe-esque “Mask of the Red Death” type mood. Had I thought about it I’d have wonder why the bird mask was and why masked balls were so over represented but… I never consciously thought about it.

  9. But then again they didn’t have these masks in medieval times. They were 17-18 century thing. But one doesn’t expect theme restaurants to get them right.

  10. Andréa: I know someone who was just incensed by the SCA people. He always complained “Why are they always lords, ladies, knights, etc. . .? How come none of them are dirty peasants covered in boils?”

  11. Outside of tourism destinations, are there still theme restaurants? I know there are some interactive theater/cabaret things out here, but no place you’d simply take the kids, and no place that would simply hire a Jeffry and issue him a costume.

  12. @MinorAnnoyance: “Outside of tourism destinations, are there still theme restaurants?”

    They certainly seem to be on the decline, but it might depend on your definition of “theme restaurants”.

    Victoria Station (railroad) and Trader Vic’s (Polynesian) are either defunct or greatly contracted.

    There is a fairly new chain called “Mission Barbeque” that I would consider a theme restaurant, the theme being the glorification of the U.S. military.

    Is Cracker Barrel a theme restaurant (country cooking), or a food style restaurant? How about T.G.I. Friday’s (life is a party)?

    I think even for theme restaurants, at least outside of ones for tourists like Planet Hollywood and Rainforest Cafe, the restaurants are going to succeed or fail based on the quality of the food.

  13. That’s more Renaissance English, not Medieval. If they’re dressing for Crusades, they should be talking Chaucer, not Shakespeare:

    Whilom, as olde stories tellen us,
    Ther was a duc that highte Theseus;
    Of Atthenes he was lord and governour,
    And in his tyme swich a conquerour
    That gretter was ther noon under the sonne.

  14. @Winter Wallaby: I actually knew a guy who did a peasent persona in the local SCA (advantages: simple costuming, no one expected you to learn bunches of heraldry and manners and all that, etc.), though I don’t know how long he stuck with it.

  15. Medieval Times – https://www.medievaltimes.com/
    Milwaukee had a ‘theme’ restaurant I visited a few times – the Natatorium. And it really was a converted neighborhood natatorium, but the pool contained two dolphins. There were dolphin shows and you could interact with them. Sadly, there was not enough money to keep the pool in good condition; the dolphins were taken by, I believe, an animal rescue organization, the restaurant closed and the building was razed.

    The problem with these type of restaurants is not, IMO, whether the food is good or not, but the fact that these are usually for special occasions, not the type of restaurant you stop in several times a week for breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner. We don’t cook, so have a ‘family diner’ nearby, where we eat many times a week, is important . . . and these restaurants are around for a long time (30+ years for the one we’ve frequented for the past year). And they are usually good, inexpensive and fast. I’ll bet no one goes to a themed restaurant more than one or two times/year, and that won’t keep ANY restaurant in business.

  16. http://www.casabonitadenver.com
    I think we went there a couple of times in the 22 years we lived in Colorado. It’s a fun experience, but the food was on a par with fast food joints. Apparently, though, enough people keep going back to keep them in business a long time.

  17. “I’m waiting to see if the “serving wenches” are wearing bodices that encourage bosoms to fall out, as so popularly shown in movies.”

    If properly designed, they LOOK like they’re about to fall out any given time, but never actually do. The tips are better that way.

  18. Suddenly I recall NPR’s “This American Life” radio program did a segment discussing a Medieval Times chain restaurant:. They took a took a Medieval expert along for the ride to one near Chicago several years ago to provide historical commentary.. For one thing, the whole “wench” thing is way wrong. The term wasn’t used until centuries after.

    Interestingly the radio segment host (Ira Glass) remarks that his party didn’t know what to make of the use of Olde Englishe by the employees.

    Also the restaurant theme originated in Spain, of all places.

    https://www.thisamericanlife.org/38/simulated-worlds

    (scroll down to Act Three to listen)

    ………………..

    It’s funny my initial reaction to the comic at the start of this thread was that it was somehow Halloween-themed, going my the crazy hatchet-to-the-helmet gag the kid was wearing, along with the costumes. I had missed the previous strip- setting up the location so it took a bit to work out they were in a Medieval Times type of place.

    Now I wonder, do they have live horses at Jeremy’s place of work?

  19. Only miniatures ’cause they’re allowed to be Service Animals.

    More than likely it WAS Medieval Times, as I believe it originated in Chicago; I’d heard of it because I lived just north of the Illinois border. Also, the high school in which I worked sometimes took students there . . . why, I don’t know, but I guess Six Flags Over Gurnee got boring.

  20. A friend of mine who made a very good living playing piano in bars and restaurants told me to always make friends with the waitresses. They are the ones who decide whether the piano player stays or goes.

  21. As an 18th century reenactor, the more recent the time being reenacted the more authentic one and one’s clothing is suppose to be. Our unit has time line events. The first one was for the 350th anniversary of the township we are headquartered in (and whose people we reenact). While the town did not exist in the renaissance period, they did have a group from same.

    We try to be authentic with our stuff and there are constant research updates to what we need to do. There is a book put out by Colonial Williamsburg, originally the course for employees, with how to speak 18th century. There are also books with the history of words as to which word would have existed when and the meaning. Then there are the letters and other documents of the period to show how words were written – and often they were written phonetically. Not all members of our unit do first person (stay in period when speaking), but we are encouraging more of them to do so. I have a member who wants to learn and am trying to help her – the first thing I told her to do is say “we” and “us” – as in “we sleep sitting up leaning our pillows” as opposed to “they slept sitting up on leaning on their pillows”.

    US Civil War expects members to be more accurate, WWI even more so – WW2 and later reenactors are often not using reproduction items, but military surplus.

    I mentioned the 350th time line event – I really like our period, but when the Viet Nam era reenactors arrived in their jeeps in a line and parked in front of their tank and helicopter – it was impressive.

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