For the past year, every page of nearly every menu at Table has been handwritten in pencil. Graphic designer An Ly of D.C.-based The General Design Company was behind the penmanship of the first batch. Ly told Y&H last year that it took her two to three hours to complete each of notebook-style menus, which spanned seven pages front and back.
Subsequently, Table owner Frederik de Pue says he asked everyone working in the restaurant to write a sentence to see who had the best handwriting. Server Anna Radionova was chosen and agreed to the task of writing 150 menus each season.
But if it seems like it was only a matter of time before they’d give up, you’re right. “We have probably one of the highest thefts of menus in D.C.,” says De Pue. He estimates that about 40 percent of the menus were stolen and others became too dirty to use.
So now only one menu will be handwritten. The rest will be photocopied, but they’ll still appear in the same notebooks with colored binding that changes seasonally. The restaurant had already been using some photocopied menus because it couldn’t keep up with the demand of hand-writing them.
As for De Pue’s newest restaurant and market, which is actually called Menu? Those menus won’t be handwritten at all.
Top photo by Jessica Sidman. Bottom courtesy The General Design Company.