After developing a blind-dining concept restaurant Dark Table in Kitsilano (2611 West 4th Avenue) that hires blind servers and serves meals in darkness, owner Moe Alameddine is focusing on the deaf community. On Thursday, May 7, he and business partner Sami Mousattat will open a new Mediterranean restaurant on West 4th called DeaFined, staffed entirely by deaf servers.
They’ve hired 10 servers, who will communicate with guests using a mix of sign language and writing on paper. The goal here is to break down the barriers to communicating with deaf people. You’re supposed to learn some sign language while ordering. The food options are numbered and accompanied by a drawing of the sign for each number or letter.
Alameddine and Mousattat found the servers for DeaFined through the YWCA in Vancouver and the Western Institute for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. Alameddine’s restaurant is the third deaf concept restaurant in North America. The other two are Mozzeria pizzeria in San Francisco, and Signs Restaurant in Toronto.
Are we intrigued? Not so much. Having attended copious baby sign language classes we don’t think that learning sign is a restaurant draw or related to Mediterranean cuisine. However we’re all for hiring people with disabilities.
According to The Canadian Association of the Deaf, only about 20 per cent of deaf Canadians are employed full-time. An estimated 350,000 Canadians are deaf, while more than 3 million are hard of hearing.
Are you going to check it out? Let us know your thoughts below.
DeaFined, 2340 West 4th, 778.379.4551, Deafined.ca
Last modified: May 4, 2015