Last night, 7 of us with 5 service dogs, one wheelchair, one person on forearm crutches, and one person with a big boot on their foot went out to dinner. So you know, your typical group of people with disabilities.
We wanted to go to Waldhorn, which is a German restaurant. I had called ahead and verified they had a patio because we’re only eating outside due to COVID.
So we get there and it’s super busy. No parking. Christi drops me off at the door, Brad drops Ileana and Kate off at the door, and Scarlet and Skyler find parking and get to the door of the restaurant first.
They go in and request a table on the patio for 7. The employee says they don’t have space on the patio for a table of seven, do we want to eat inside? They came out to ask us what to do, and Brad still hadn’t made it from the car yet, so we decided to tell them to get the table ready while we waited for Brad.
As we’re waiting, Scarlet calls Brad on the phone and it turns out he found an accessible parking space, but the person in the next space over is parked in the access aisle (that hashed space that you’re supposed to keep clear) and he can’t get out of the van. He says we need to eat outside.
So then the server comes out to seat us, and we tell him we have to sit on the patio. He tells us a different story… That the patio has space but they’re worried about the service dogs because there are like 10 kids on the patio.
By this time I’m halfway across the parking lot to try to help Brad. But I hear this, and realize I need to go back and deal with that situation.
I tell the lady in no uncertain terms that our dogs are service dogs, and that we are skilled in telling kids they can’t pet the dogs. She was skeptical until I told her that I had taught 4th grade, then said it was OK.
At that point, I mentioned that we needed to find out who owned the car that was overparked so Brad could get out of his van.
She then asked if he can walk down steps!!!!! We were like, no, he’s a power wheelchair user. Turns out their patio is not wheelchair accessible!
So we said forget it. I had a mini panic attack in the parking lot as we reconvened to try to decide what to do.
I remembered that when driving to the hotel, we had passed an Indian restaurant with a really nice looking patio. So we on the fly agreed to go there.
We showed up and the patio is accessible, yay! But there are like 5 steps to get into the restaurant, which is a problem because you have to order in the restaurant!
Ileana and I go in first, and immediately they are really upset at us because of the dogs. As we’re arguing with them over the dogs, the scent of incense is almost completely overpowering us. Eventually I convince them that service dogs are OK in the health code, and they grudgingly agree to serve us. So I grab some takeout menus and we head outside to decide what to eat.
Unfortunately for everyone else, but fortunately for me, it was a South Indian restaurant! South Indian food is my absolute favorite food EVER, but no one else had ever been to this type of restaurant so I had to explain the menu to everyone and everyone was really really confused. But they had DOSAS!!!! Those who know me, know that dosas are my absolute pinnacle of food.
In the end, the combination of incense and nasty looks from the owners made it so that only me and Kate with Louis could go inside the restaurant. So I took four peoples’ orders, and Kate took three, with multiple credit cards, and we went inside to place our orders, with me clump clumping up and down the steps in my big old boot.
Then we realize that we have to bring all the food outside ourselves to the table. So me with Hestia and my boot start trying to clump clump clump down the stairs with a plate of food. Eventually, one of the people at the restaurant helps bring out the rest of our orders after seeing how much we were all struggling.
We had a good meal, but during the meal I needed more water, and Ileana needed more mango lassi (two more). So I went clump clumping inside again, this time coming out and going down the steps with my boot, my dog, a cup of water and a mango lassi in one hand, and a mango lassi in my other hand!
Finally we could relax and eat our food! Most everyone I think had an OK time with their food. I loved mine, of course!
THEN we realized that we were supposed to bring all our plates and trash and everything inside to put it away! Skyler and Christi both made one trip inside before we realized they put a bussing cart out at the back of the patio, so we were able to put our stuff there instead of making a ton more trips inside.
It was quite an adventure!!!
We all plan to leave 1 star reviews for Waldhorn for being so inaccessible and bad about service dogs. The Indian restaurant wasn’t any worse than I’d expect for an ethnic restaurant, and despite the incense smell, Brad and I will probably be back for more dosas when I’m not in a boot! I’ll just have to shower when we get home so Brad can stand to be around me.