Sign to dine: Vancouver’s first ‘deaf’ restaurant offers unique dining experience
Published Tuesday, June 23, 2015 6:00AM PDT Last Updated Tuesday, June 23, 2015 7:33PM PDT
A Vancouver restaurant is offering a unique new dining experience that's both interesting and educational.
Deafined is the first restaurant in B.C. to hire exclusively deaf or hard of hearing waiters. Its goal is to offer much needed employment opportunities to the deaf community in Vancouver and to teach others a little bit more about their world and language.
Patrons are encouraged to order using basic sign language and each table has helpful sign language booklets to help customers communicate with their servers.
"It's something new, it's a new language, it's a challenge, it's something different again. That's why we call it a unique dining experience,” said Moe Alameddine, Deafined’s owner.
Judy Khuu is one of 10 deaf or hard of hearing servers at the restaurant. She sat down to talk with consumer reporter Lynda Steele through interpreter Brenda Erlandson from the Western Institute for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing.
“They're worried about signing something wrong or signing something backwards, so we just help them, show them this is what the a is supposed to look like or another letter of the alphabet is supposed to look like," explained Khuu.
Alameddine is also the restaurateur behind Dark Table, Vancouver’s only restaurant that employs exclusively blind and visually impaired servers. He says he wanted to offer the same employment opportunities to the deaf.
It's estimated 350,000 Canadians are deaf and only 20 per cent of those people are working full time according to the Canadian Assocation of the Deaf.
The restaurant is located on 4th Avenue in Kitsilano and is open for dinner seven nights a week.