Could No-Seat Restaurants Become a Thing in New York?

It might become a more familiar sight.
It might become a more familiar sight. Photo: Danny Kim

Mile End Sandwich tried to introduce a no-seat model before relenting and getting some stools, but that doesn’t mean restaurateurs’ dreams of not having to provide seats is necessarily dead. In fact, Reuters sits down with Hiroshi Shimada, the Tokyo chef whose no-seats restaurant Shimada “has diners lining up.” Says the chef, “This is a very special atmosphere that you can only enjoy at a standing bar. I have realized that this is what I wanted to do for a long time.” (Also worth noting: High customer turnover means the restaurant can charge prices that are about one-third of what it might normally charge.) On the one hand, it sounds annoying to eat dinner without being able to sit down. On the other, we could totally see it happening in New York. The idea of restaurants that only had stool or backless seating was, not so long ago, still cause for concern among New York restaurantgoers; it’s now more or less the norm, especially among ambitious high-end tasting counters like Blanca and Atera. All it takes is one talented chef turning out fast, interesting food that’s affordable, and you just know New York diners would line up, too. [Reuters]