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Friday, May 18, 2012

Why I Bought Barrio a New Toilet Seat

Why I Bought Barrio a New Toilet Seat

The devil’s in the details, right?

I’ve been on Minnesota Monthly’s food-writing beat just a few days, and have already run across a noodle shop with wobbly tables, a deli with dried out vegetables in the salad bar—air-toasted baby carrots, withered radishes, celery that’s started to curl—and an awesome downtown Minneapolis restaurant with a toilet seat worn right down to the pressed wood. (Who ever thought about how toilet seats are made? Not me...)

After a classy lunch at Barrio, I encountered this in the women’s restroom:

toilet seatIn a dive bar, I might chalk it up to character—at the 1029 Bar restroom, I once found the toilet seat completely removed from the porcelain bowl and leaning up against the wall. But at Barrio, the shabby facilities somewhat marred what had otherwise been a lovely visit spent noshing on chicken tinga salad, tacos, and tortas. It wasn't a big deal to me, but it wasn't exactly the kind of thing you’d want, say, a business client to face.

When we go out to eat, every part of the experience matters, from the tone of the host’s voice to the comfort of the chairs. It’s a lot for restaurateurs to track, which is why I’ll be appreciatively noting when the details are done right—and trying to help out when things fall short.

**I'm looking forward to developing MNMO's food and dining coverage, so if you have tips, thoughts, or story pitches, please hit me up: Twitter @rachel_hutton, email rhutton@mnmo.com.

Posted on Friday, May 18, 2012 in Permalink

Comments may be edited for length, clarity, or appropriateness.

Old to new | New to old
May 18, 2012 08:19 am
 Posted by  Emmysue

I, for one, enjoyed the hilariousness of this inaugural post. Know what I think you should gift next? Screws and coat hooks for those establishments that don't install them underneath the bar for patrons to hang their coats and purses. That really gets my goat. I'll send you my list...

May 18, 2012 09:58 am
 Posted by  manda

Awesome post! I'd add to EmmySue, how about those use-your-foot door openers in bathrooms? Those things are brilliant and should be in EVERY restaurant.

May 18, 2012 10:47 am
 Posted by  Mo_Dub

This is so rogue and amazing. Did you anonymously gift the toilet seat? It's sort of the opposite of dine and dash...

May 18, 2012 01:52 pm
 Posted by  Rachel H.

Emmysue, that's an excellent idea! In that situation, I often set my purse/coat over the sink, which is less than ideal.

Mo_Dub, I included a gift receipt ("To: Barrio From: a fan") so they can exchange if they need a different size or want something more "money":


May 18, 2012 02:13 pm
 Posted by  pahobe

As one of the many Twin Cities ladies who have used that worn down seat, what does that say about our collective right cheeks? #notcallingusfat

May 18, 2012 03:53 pm
 Posted by  Jason DeRusha

And why just the right cheek? Is there some sort of odd contortion that makes this happen? I've never been in the bathroom with a lady, so your ways are a mystery to me.

May 19, 2012 02:47 pm
 Posted by  Attention to Bathroom Decor = Attention to Food

Great opening post. Will be looking for more of your stuff.

Barrio, you should be completely embarrassed, but somehow I bet you won't.

Glad it was just wood. Was I the only one who thought there was poop on the toilet seat on the first picture?

The number of times the Barrio staff walked past that toilet seat and thought nothing of it gives me serious pause about going back there for food ever again.

Line cook #1 "Hey, does this meat look funny to you guys?"

Line cook #2 "Naw, just send it out bro"

Unacceptable and totally disgusting

May 21, 2012 10:09 am
 Posted by  @mplsgossipgirl

Wow! That is very gross.

Time to Hover. :)

Kudos for you to point it out to them and give them some public shame.

I agree with the poster before me. Attention to other parts of the restaurant= Attention to food.

May 21, 2012 11:15 am
 Posted by  Mo_Dub

Someone get me that money toilet seat STAT!

May 21, 2012 08:53 pm
 Posted by  John Minn

Looks like someone flattened a turd on that seat.

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TC Taste answers your restaurant and dining questions, dishes on latest discoveries, reflects on breaking news, and generally bring the plate to the page with a skilled crew of experts: Minnesota Monthly Senior Editor Rachel Hutton, Sustainable Food Correspondent Marie Flanagan, Chef Jason Ross, Food Writer Joy Summers, and Drinks & Real Food Senior Editor Mary Subialka. Learn more about the TC Taste bloggers.

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