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 firstname.lastname@example.org, find me on Facebook at The Disabled Foodie, tweet me @disabledfoodie, or on Instagram @thedisabledfoodie. I look forward to hearing from you!
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