Last Call: Why Restaurants Hate Valentine's Day

You would think that restaurants would love Valentine's Day. Reservations made weeks in advance! All booked tables! Diners ordering to impress! Pricey items like caviar and champagne!

Not so, says The New York Post today, in an article titled "Restaurants actually hate Valentine's Day," for a lot of reasons I hadn't considered before. Most of those booked tables are for two people, not four, which cuts down on the dinner bills significantly. Nick Valenti, chief executive of Patina Restaurant Group, tells the Post, "Not every table is maximized because you have tables for four being occupied by two people." And a lot of those people may be new customers coming to the place for a first time, kicking out established customers who may be ordering more generously.

Those couples may be eating lighter meals, in advance of the evening taking a more romantic turn. They also tend to linger, tying up valuable dining real estate while their orders dwindle. Those fancy items may not be so profitable for various establishments: "proprietors gripe that the margins on foie gras and caviar are frequently lower." Also, those romantic evenings might turn sour, as V-Day is a relationship high-bar day that can bring up a lot of issues. The Post article cites loud arguments or storming out couples, ruining other customers' dining experience.

Even with all that, "Valentine's Day is not as hated as New Year's Eve, which is despised," hospitality attorney Carolyn Richmond tells the Post. But if you are headed out for dinner tonight: order generously, tip graciously, and don't hang around, okay? And Happy Valentine's Day to you all. I am having steak at home with my three favorite people in the world. Pretty lucky, me. [Gwen Ihnat]

What’s your favorite vinyl album art?

I am now the owner of The Allman Brothers Band's Eat A Peach record, an album I grew up listening to with my dad and which for me holds many nostalgic memories and awesome guitar solos. But oh, the gatefold art! I forgot how trippy W. David Powell and J. F. Holmes' illustration is. That naked chick is riding a dragon and throwing snakes—right on! Any of you similarly attached to certain records' label art? [Kate Bernot]