My name is David. I am a 40 year-old foodie living in NYC who happens to be disabled. I use a wheelchair to get around. I used to use walking crutches, but that no longer works well for me.
I am writing this because as someone who adores food I have noticed a need for accessibility information as it pertains to restaurants, food markets, food events, and anywhere else a foodie might venture. Each time I want to go somewhere, I find myself doing tons of research by phone and online: Is the entrance accessible? Are the bathrooms accessible? How does the staff react to a customer who has a disability? Are the walkways in the establishment able to accommodate a wheelchair or other mobility assistance device? Is there a menu available in Braille for blind patrons? Through my travels through the NYC food world and beyond, I hope to convey as much information about this information and the food itself at all the venues I visit. I will rate each venue on a scale of 1 – 5 (1 being lowest, 5 being highest) on the following factors:
- Accessibility of the entrance (wide doorway, barriers to entry)
- Accessibility of the bathrooms (accessibility of the entryway and stalls, grab bars in stalls) Unfortunately, I’m only able to personally evaluate men’s rooms at this time.
- Accessibility of walkways and interior space (wide or narrow, how closely packed is the space, can a person in a wheelchair fit comfortably underneath the tables, what is the level of interior lighting and noise)
- Staff’s reaction to and treatment of people with disabilities
- Does the restaurant have a Braille menu?
I do my best to look for accommodations as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act. I do my best to evaluate each venue for as many disabilities (mobility, blindness/visual impairment, hard of hearing, deaf, etc.) as possible, but most of my knowledge and experience is from the perspective of physical/mobility impairment.
Your suggestions and questions are encouraged. Please post these in the comments section after each post, and I will respond as promptly as possible.
I look forward to providing you with information to open up the food world to foodies who happen to have a disability!
I am available for speaking engagements to groups of any size. I speak about my experience, as well as what is necessary for a restaurant/food venue to be within ADA compliance. I have experience training restaurant staff how to improve their service to people with disabilities.
You can reach me via email at email@example.com, find me on Facebook at The Disabled Foodie, tweet me @disabledfoodie, or on Instagram @thedisabledfoodie. I look forward to hearing from you!
All content is the property of The Disabled Foodie and David R. Friedman. Any and all content appearing on The Disabled Foodie may not be used without the express written consent of David R. Friedman.