A newly-opened Fort Worth restaurant is enforcing an uncommon rule: no cellphones.
Owner Tim Love opened the new Italian restaurant, called Caterina, which means “pure” in Italian.
In pursuit of that pure experience, the eatery asks guests to follow a strict no-phones policy. The phones are placed into a locked bag upon entry, and not returned until it’s time to exit.
“We wanted to make something that was special,” Tim Love told NBC DFW.
The staff actually monitors the dining area for rulebreakers. If they catch one, they politely “call them out,” so to speak.
“We’re going to kindly ask them to put their phone in the bag,” Love said. “We’ve already had that happen. Some people forget. They just have their phone in their pocket. We give them the bag. They put their phone in the bag. It’s not a big deal.”
Love hopes that patrons will enjoy being disconnected from their devices and either enjoy spending time with themselves or their dining companions.
“If you can’t possibly deal without your phone for two hours, this is not the place for you,” Love said. “I mean, people go to movies, they don’t get on their phone.”
For those who absolutely need to be reachable, Caterina said patrons can give out the restaurant’s phone number, and there is an old-fashioned, bright red rotary phone that can be brought to the table for emergency calls.
“So then you’re like, ‘I’m just going to sit here and enjoy myself,’ and that’s what happens. It’s been really refreshing,” Love said.
In keeping with the theme of resurrecting the slightly outdated, Caterina also has a dress code, which requires jackets for men. And if a gentleman forgets, not to worry, the restaurant will loan them one at the door.
Caterina’s cozy 40-seat dining room just opened at the end of July and is situated in the newly dedicated area of the Stockyards called “Mule Alley,” housed in the restored Horse and Mule Barns of the Stockyards Historic District.
“Mule Alley” is described as a “carefully curated collection” of restaurants, entertainment venues, shops, heritage brands, creative workplaces, and the rustic-luxe 4-star hotel, The Drover, all contributing to the evolving history of “Cowtown.”