Trend of the Week

Perfume in Restaurants

Jeesh…I’m smelling my servers from a mile away!

By Kathryn Robinson August 31, 2009

Had dinner recently at a new restaurant gaining renown for its intricately seasoned food. When it came to the table, steaming and fragrant with complex and important aromas, it was carried by a server sheathed in what can only be called an olfactory force field of patchouli.

Aaaaack! Used to be no restaurant worth its salt allowed its servers to wear heavy perfumes. Now I’m smelling my waiters from a mile away. Lately it’s been more the rule than the exception, with women servers anyway. Good smells all, understand. But decidedly in conflict with the food.

Restaurants used to never display lilies, or other flowers with food-obliterating scents, for the same reason. (Home dinner party throwers, take note.) Yet just last week, what did I see in the entryway of a popular Capitol Hill dinnerhouse? A huge vase filled with Stargazers, gushing fragrance.

What gives, restaurateurs? An off trend…or has this long-held tenet gone the way of reservations and private tables?

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