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A new restaurant.
August 5, 2014 9:16 AM   Subscribe

Signs (YT) is a new restaurant in Toronto. Most of the servers are Deaf. It is the first restaurant of its kind in Canada, though not the world (YT). Their Facebook page contains reviews from patrons. Here's how to order. If you're interested in ASL, the National Association of the Deaf has a great primer for you, or you can go through the glossary and lessons here at ASL University.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering (31 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite

 
I really like the idea.

My base cynical side can't help but wonder if it's a marketing gimick Manikumar is exploiting. Not having any connection whatsoever to this endevor I'm not about to actually make the accusation by any means.
posted by edgeways at 9:24 AM on August 5 [1 favorite]


How's the food?
posted by Faint of Butt at 9:26 AM on August 5 [3 favorites]


I enjoy that the sign for rare is pointing at your mouth and then bringing your pointing hand down.

This is my mouth. Put that cow directly in it.
posted by phunniemee at 9:26 AM on August 5 [11 favorites]


Also, I will take this opportunity to reiterate what desjardins said on facebook the other day, which was basically wtf is up with a video about a restaurant with an all-deaf waitstaff NOT HAVING CLOSED CAPTIONS. It's infuriatingly dumb.
posted by phunniemee at 9:29 AM on August 5 [15 favorites]


How's the food?

Daphne's a pretty good cook, I understand.
posted by yoink at 9:31 AM on August 5


When I went to visit my brother and his wife in her home town, we went out to a bar that was owned by my SIL's aunt and uncle. They're both Deaf, and their bar seemed to be an unofficial community center for the local Deaf community. It wasn't anything official, but they had a lot of Deaf customers who seemed to appreciate the ability to order and converse with the owners in their first language. I wonder if that's a common phenomenon.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 9:33 AM on August 5 [1 favorite]


I have been to a few deaf events and a restaurant where signing was used. I know very, very, very basic ASL. But two things:

1) Native signers are wicked fast (like any language). There's a huge difference between the learning speed in class or online or tapes...then actual immersion in the culture.

2) I learned after a while that it's rude to stare at a signer's hands (not their eyes) in deaf culture. This makes sense as it's true in most cultures...but I learned by watching hands carefully to grok the signs...and if I watched the face/eyes instead of the hands, I was totally lost.

I never learned how to cope with that...and now have kinda forgotten most of what I used to know (through disuse).

I hope the folks working in this restaurant have a LOT of patience with customers, sign really slowly and basically, and can deal with "rude" behavior....
posted by CrowGoat at 9:40 AM on August 5 [1 favorite]


phunniemee: Also, I will take this opportunity to reiterate what desjardins said on facebook the other day, which was basically wtf is up with a video about a restaurant with an all-deaf waitstaff NOT HAVING CLOSED CAPTIONS. It's infuriatingly dumb.

I don't think that's dumb at all--it's the whole point behind the restaurant. "You don't get to use your language tools; you have to use ours."
posted by tzikeh at 9:45 AM on August 5 [1 favorite]


is ASL the language used by the Canadian deaf community?
posted by sineater at 9:57 AM on August 5


wtf is up with a video about a restaurant with an all-deaf waitstaff NOT HAVING CLOSED CAPTIONS

The first video linked does have captions. Hit the CC button and press 'on.'

edgeways, the Toronto Star article outlines how and why the business started; in response to a guest at his former restaurant who was Deaf, so he started learning ASL, and it snowballed from there.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:57 AM on August 5


Yeah, youtube captioning is like that scene in Ace Ventura when he just walks around shouting "bumblebee tuna" at everyone.
posted by phunniemee at 10:00 AM on August 5 [3 favorites]


Hey so... if you have any opportunity to take an ASL class near you, absolutely do so. It is a fascinating, wonderful language and culture.
posted by odinsdream at 10:00 AM on August 5 [2 favorites]


I don't think that's dumb at all--it's the whole point behind the restaurant. "You don't get to use your language tools; you have to use ours."

so only hearing people get to understand the video, got it
posted by desjardins at 10:00 AM on August 5 [3 favorites]


God, I hope it's better than the restaurant with blind staff. The experience was fun, but the food at O Noir was terrible.
posted by jacquilynne at 10:00 AM on August 5


desjardins: so only hearing people get to understand the video, got it

I misunderstood. I thought there were no captions on a video of people using sign language. My error. I'd seen stuff about this restaurant already, so I didn't follow the links, as I figured it would be the same stuff.
posted by tzikeh at 10:07 AM on August 5


Yeah, youtube captioning is like that scene in Ace Ventura when he just walks around shouting "bumblebee tuna" at everyone

I had assumed that the captioning would have been done by the CBC, as it's a CBC production. Sorry.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:12 AM on August 5


The restaurant's mobile site doesn't work. There's an Accessibility joke in there somewhere.
posted by emelenjr at 10:15 AM on August 5 [1 favorite]


No problem. There are a lot of purely ASL videos that aren't captioned, which is fine because I don't expect (for example) a French newscast to caption their content their content in English. ASL is an entirely different language than English. Spoken English videos should be captioned, though.

Anyway... I'm glad the servers are getting this opportunity. It must be awesome to be able to communicate in your native language at work.
posted by desjardins at 10:19 AM on August 5


is ASL the language used by the Canadian deaf community?
I think that Quebec has its own sign language (which like ASL is a linguistic off-shoot of French Sign Language), but for the most part, yes, the Canadian Deaf community uses ASL. The geography of signed language is actually sort of fascinating, because it's pretty different from the geography of spoken language. Irish Sign Language, for instance, is related to ASL and French Sign Language but not to British Sign Language.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 10:20 AM on August 5 [2 favorites]


as a customer, do you have to sign or can you just point to bits of the menu and the signing guide
posted by Bwithh at 10:35 AM on August 5


BSL is very different from ASL. I spent some time a few years ago studying BSL; it's spectacularly nuanced, full of little regional dialects, and has some very emphatic swearies.
posted by scruss at 10:46 AM on August 5


as a customer, do you have to sign or can you just point to bits of the menu and the signing guide

I am terribly awkward so I hope they have numbered items like Chinese restaurants.
posted by desjardins at 10:51 AM on August 5


So does one tip, or are all the waitstaff paid fairly?
posted by hal_c_on at 11:20 AM on August 5


a family asked me to take their photo outside of the resturant today, and it was really neat, they seemed so happy that they had some place to go where they didn't feel alone or isolated.
posted by PinkMoose at 12:05 PM on August 5


In Canada waitstaff are paid at least minimum wage but tipping is still the norm.
posted by peppermind at 12:21 PM on August 5


Ontario has a slightly lower minimum wage for tipped workers, but it's nowhere near the lows you get in some American states.
posted by jacquilynne at 12:24 PM on August 5 [1 favorite]


as a customer, do you have to sign or can you just point to bits of the menu and the signing guide
Signing is encouraged, but you can certainly point to the menu. You're not expected to know the signs for "butternut squash ravioli" - you'd just point to it.
posted by etoile at 1:09 PM on August 5


Tipping is customary at any restaurant in Canada above the level of fast food chain, pretty much.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 1:15 PM on August 5


You're not expected to know the signs for "butternut squash ravioli" - you'd just point to it.

The menus have icons that show the signs for the dishes, according to the video. You can see them at about 0:53 in.
posted by jaguar at 5:23 PM on August 5


Takeaway points for people with allergies:
  • You have to spell WHEAT out.
  • The sign for "milk" is like one hand milking a cow.
  • The sign for "nuts" isn't the one you would expect.
    No, it isn't that one either.
posted by Joe in Australia at 7:04 PM on August 5


Oh, and in case you were about to wave your pinched fingers in a writing motion at the waitress/waiter to request your cheque... that ain't official ASL.
posted by Kabanos at 10:29 AM on August 6


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