On Tuesday afternoon, a person who frequently interacts with Eating...Our Words on Twitter tweeted the following statement:
Just got tossed out of Da Marco. Friend was wearing sneakers. "Do you have another pair of shoes?" What a bunch of dicks.
— Misha (@tastybits) January 14, 2014
We went to the Da Marco website to search for a description of the dress code that had been violated, but we couldn't find anything. The menu is all there, along with the hours of operation, contact information and the location, all clearly listed. There's a link to make reservations on OpenTable. On Da Marco's Open Table page -- under "More Details" -- is a description of the dress code: Business casual. As far as we can tell, that's the only place the code is listed.
So we emailed the sneaker-wearing would-be customer to get the whole story.
"The entire discussion took 30 seconds," Daniel Bernal wrote back to us. "The hostess said hello, waited for us to say that we had a reservation for 3 p.m. (booked online), stared at me for five seconds, and then asked if I had another pair of shoes. We said no ...? Then she said something like, 'We have a dress code, and you won't be able to enter wearing sneakers.' Then she looked at the guy at the door, who said, 'Sorry, yeah. Sorry.'"
The two diners laughed off the incident and left without arguing. Bernal told us they ate at Underbelly instead.
"We have a dress code that is business casual: no sneakers, shorts, T-shirts or hats. I believe it's on the website, and it's posted at the entrance," a hostess at Da Marco told us.
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Again, we could not find any evidence of a dress code on Da Marco's website, but people who eat there often note that the dress code seems to be understood by most diners. We did ask the hostess if accommodations could be made for someone with, for example, foot problems, such as an elderly person who needs to wear sneakers for support. She said in those cases, wearing sneakers would be fine, but added that the person would have to arrange to do so in advance.
It's a sticky situation for, sure, but it raises a question: Are dress codes still relevant in Houston restaurants in 2014? Should dress codes be clearly listed, or should people just be expected to know the details?
And what is business casual anyway? GQ Magazine includes sneakers in its slideshow of business casual attire, while other sites suggest jeans are appropriate when paired with the proper shirt.
What do you think?