|Governor Stumpy's braille menu was created by a customer.|
I recently got a call from a midtown resident named Lawrence Thomas, who told me about a problem that I hadn't thought much about.
Thomas is legally blind and says he can't afford to go out to eat as often as he would like. But when he does, he
'd rather be able to use a braille menu than have a dining companion (if there is a dining companion, because he sometimes eats alone) read the menu to him. What surprises him -- and me, for that matter -- is how many local restaurants don't offer braille menus.
The manager of one restaurant within easy walking distance of Thomas' home told me that "it wasn't in their budget" to have a menu copied in braille.
For the record, that's no excuse: The Kansas Braille Transcription Institute will reproduce menus into braille for a $50 tax-deductible contribution.
Thomas is a fan of Governor Stumpy's Grill House
at 321 East Gregory, not only because the food is good and the staff is
attentive to visually impaired patrons but also because it has a
braille menu. The manager tells me that Governor Stumpy's has several legally
"One of our visually impaired regulars even created the braille menus for us," says the manager.
Some national restaurant chains, like the locally based Applebee's, provide braille menus. But not, for example, the Houston's location on the Country Club Plaza. When I called to ask whether the venue offered a braille menu, the cheery young woman at the other end of the line told me, "No, it was outdated, so I recycled them. We don't have one now."
Braille menus do get easily outdated (just like regular menus), which is why many of them don't list prices -- this was another of Thomas' complaints. I told him that it made sense for braille menus not to list prices, particularly in the current economy, when prices can go up by modest amounts. A visually impaired customer can always ask a server about prices.
Restaurants that do currently offer braille menus include the Jack's Stack Barbecue restaurants, Jalepeno's Mexican Restaurant in Brookside, and the two area locations of The Cheesecake Factory.
If you know of others, let us know.