Sunday, January 27, 2008

So Santa Fe

Illustration courtesy of

About once a month I have lunch at a restaurant called Counter Culture. The name is a play on words--you order your lunch at a counter, and it's served to you in the dining room when it's ready. But the menu and the decor also support the 60s and 70s hippie manifestations of counterculture. There's a big pot-bellied stove belching fire in the corner; the tables are rough-hewn wood; there's a concrete floor and lots of brushed aluminum; seating is moderately communal; sprouts, espresso, and Thai soups appear on the menu; and service is rude to middlin'.

But my favorite "so Santa Fe" indicator is a sign on the door from the restaurant to the outside patio:

For the safety and comfort of our customers, there will be NO barking or growling dogs allowed on the front patio. Extremely mellow dogs only.

Don't you love it? First of all, they have a patio where dogs are allowed. Well--OK, you see this a lot in urban sidewalk caf├ęs, etc. So no sign at all would have been one option--people would assume dogs were OK. But obviously other customers were affronted by badly behaved dogs (as someone who's not a dog person, I get this!) so these dogs needed to be excluded. Another option would have been a sign that said "no barking or growling dogs" or "barking or growling dogs will be asked to leave"--a more rule-oriented posting.

But the "mellow dogs only" bit is perfect--it so fits with the "counter culture" image (perhaps these dogs have taken a puff or two of the weed?) and the combination of rules, politeness, direction, indirection, and chattiness in the sign just made me laugh!

P.S. The food is excellent, and they have "Arnold Palmer"s on the menu!!


Anonymous said...

i appreciate your blog so much! i've been considering moving to santa fe for the past couple months with my mom, and it's great to have something like this to read. great job :) - annie

SantaFeKate said...

Annie--glad you like the blog! There's so much to write about here that I hardly do justice to it all...