Did we hear right??? … no cell phones allowed?

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By Elaine Kolodziej

Going out to eat – or just going out in public – without being tethered to a cell phone is almost unthinkable. A restaurant owner wants to change that.

“Chef Tim Love’s new restaurant has a dress code – and phone rules too” is a headline from the Fort Worth Star Telegram.

I only heard a brief reference to this story on the news on Saturday, but by Monday morning the story had gone viral.

While a no-cell phone policy may seem like a blast from the past from today’s perspective, Tim Love is stepping outside the box for his Fort Worth restaurant, Caterina’s.

This is an idea that may be worth considering, not only in restaurants, but also in schools. There was a time when cell phones were confiscated from students, or at least kept out of reach, while they were in school.

From what I understand, this is no longer the case in many, if not most, schools today. This could be indicative of the trend of schools moving towards more online learning and all things digital.

But let’s face it. Cell phones can be a distraction, not only for children, but also for adults.

Perhaps it’s fitting that some cellphone discipline begins with adults. Then we adults can teach the children.

For example, it’s probably rare for parents to put their cellphones away for a long period of the day in order to devote their full attention to each other and their family.

Even a temporary no cell phone policy like the one instituted in

Caterina may be worth considering.

It’s not just a way of acknowledging the way things used to be, but it could be a way of introducing some civility into our increasingly less cultured society.

Caterina’s customers now enjoy dining in an exclusive atmosphere, with tables elegantly covered in white tablecloths, seated amid ambient lighting. There will be no distractions caused by ringing cell phones or, even worse, people preoccupied with digital devices instead of enjoying the dining experience.

Caterina customers are required to temporarily drop their phones when entering the restaurant. Phones are kept in a “cell phone jail” until the customer is ready to leave.

This policy has been in place for a week, and Love said people can have real person-to-person conversations and maybe even meet new people.

So far, public reaction has been positive.

The upscale Italian restaurant wants diners to experience fine dining in a peaceful atmosphere without the distraction of digital screens.

And one more thing. Caterina has a dress code. Men must wear a jacket, and if they forget it, they can borrow one for the evening.

Of course, ladies are expected to dress appropriately, but the dress code does not say how a woman who is dressed inappropriately would be treated. We may also lend them a jacket!

Caterina’s suggests that if you are expecting an important call or message from a babysitter, you can leave the restaurant phone number where you can be reached. In case of an emergency, an old-fashioned landline phone will be brought to your table. So far this has not been a problem for customers. Love thinks if people can watch a movie for two hours without their phone, why not while they eat?

So wait, kids. First no cell phones and now a dress code??? Schools, listen.

Could time travel soon be coming to a restaurant — or school — near you? I hope!

It’s my opinion.

What is your?

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