Canada's first restaurant with deaf wait staff: Signs in Toronto

Dining-in the-dark restaurants like O.Noir (in Toronto and Montreal) and Dark Table (Vancouver) have given Canadian diners an experience of what what it's like to eat blind. But another restaurant recently launched in Canada that's helping to give hearing diners a taste of dining deaf.

Signs (558 Yonge Street), created by entrepreneur Anjan Manikumar, is a 150-seat casual-dining restaurant staffed by deaf servers that opened in July in Toronto.

Manikumar told the CBC he was inspired by a deaf customer at a restaurant he previously worked at who would point at the menu to order.

Diners can choose from entrées ranging from grilled maple soy salmon and Montego Bay jerk chicken to butternut squash ravioli. The catch is that they have to do it using sign language.

Each menu item has icons that illustrate how to order it using sign language.

A cheat sheet also helps out customers with various phrases, including how to indicate if you're a vegetarian or have special dietary concerns.

The innovative business gives deaf people a chance to work in a field that they might otherwise never have a chance to.

While there are other restaurants that have deaf staff, including Mozzeria in San Francisco and Café Signes in Paris, this one is Canada's first.

Here's a CBC report on the restaurant:

So how about it, Vancouver: is anyone ready to open one here?

Comments (4) Add New Comment
Sean Nagel
Really brilliant to do a report about a deaf staffed restaurant and not ensure there are captions on the YouTube clip. Apparently the talking about inclusivity isn't enough to inspire a little basic though about it from the reporting team. Good story, poor follow through.
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Jon Spencer
I see closed captions. Try again, Sean.
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Craig Takeuchi
Sean: Closed captions are available by hitting the "CC" button on the bottom bar of the YouTube clip.
It would be better for everyone involved—you included—if you asked questions instead of responding with criticism and sarcasm.
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Me
exploitation at its best, hidden by the lure of acceptance...disgusting
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