Monday, May 11, 2015

Signs - A Win, Win, Win, Win, Win Opportunity

Picture description: Signs, a restaurant and bar, pictured from the front showing a ramp installed from the sidewalk and up three steps.

I have wanted to go to Signs restaurant for a very long time. Signs is a restaurant where all the wait staff are deaf. You are seated by a hearing host who introduces you to your server, shows you their 'cheat sheet' for signs and then lets you at it. When it first opened I expressed dismay at it not being accessible but I was assured by management that they too were distressed by the lack of accessibility and were working on it. True to their word, they installed a ramp. I was a bit uncomfortable with trying the ramp because it seemed steep to me, but I threw that aside as we planned, along with the girls and Mike, to take Marissa out for Mother's day brunch.

Mike helped me get up the ramp and into the restaurant, it was a victory over my own expectations of failure. I really didn't think I could do it. I was massively wrong. We took our seats and looked around. they had a full wall of the signed alphabet, which looked, amazing when seen as art. They had some larger pictures of people doing various signs, like the one for 'thank you.'

Photo description: Woman signing 'thank you.'

Our waitress was warm and charming and endlessly patient with the kids who decided they wanted to finger spell everything. They had both learned how to finger spell their first names before coming and then learned how to introduce themselves. They were very proud to show this skill off. After a short time the experience became a wonderful Mother's Day brunch. The food was amazing, AMAZING, and we ate ourselves silly. The atmosphere was one that other restaurants dream of ... absolute welcome. It is close to the warmest and friendliest restaurant I've had as a disabled diner, but beyond that, it wasn't just me who commented on this aspect of the restaurant. Everyone at my table mentioned it in one way or another. And let me say again, the food was great.

To get out, I back down the ramp, which looks quite dramatic I know but it's actually easier than coming up the ramp in regards to the sharp turn that needs to be made. We were out, the rain had stopped and Mike snapped another picture before we headed home.

Photo description: Ruby striking a happy pose in front of the ramp and the restaurant.
It was a great experience. I heartily recommend the restaurant for anyone who wants to:

1) have a really good meal
2) in a warm and friendly environment
3) while having fun learning a bit of sign language
4) supporting a restaurant that provides employment to deaf staff
5) in a place that worked to become fully accessible

It's a kind of win, win, win, win, win, situation. How often does that happen for the cost of a meal.


Utter Randomness said...

So they got to keep the ramp in the end?

Andrea S. said...

I keep wishing they would open up a Signs restaurant in DC! How was their vegetarian stuff? Do you know if any of it was vegan? (ie, vegetarian with no egg or dairy)

Unknown said...

No we are still involved in talking with the City and working on finding a solution that is feasible for all parties involved.

Dave Hingsburger said...


They had a lot of veggie options and a lot of vegan options as well. It's one of the most inclusive menus I've seen.

clairesmum said...

what a wonderful celebration of family, and of life!

CapriUni said...

@Signs -- First, I hope your ramp situation gets a permanent solution soon.

Second, I should not have checked out your menu while hungry. I don't suppose you deliver ... to Chesapeake, VA?

No... Didn't think so. Oh well.

Andrea S. said...


Maybe us poor folks down in the United States need to sign that bigger so they can see us in Toronto! Surely they could deliver to us by plane, couldn't they? I mean, that wouldn't be ridiculously expensive AT ALL ... right?

... Right ... ?

... Er, hello ... ?

Dave, thanks for the info!

Anonymous said...

So glad the restaurant followed through. When I was in Vegas, many places said they were accessible, and indeed they had ramps, but they were so narrow and had turns that were unnegotiable. Often they were conveniently placed, which encouraged others to use them that weren't on mobility devices, and there was no room to pass. Caused a little "anger" as it was usually they that had to retrace their steps. Nice to have a ramp, but even a ramp needs to be accessible!!