Navarre, the 28th avenue tapas restaurant consistently ranked among the finest in the city, and East Burnside Italian spot Luce—declared the 4th best new restaurant in America by food magazine Bon Appetit in 2012—will adopt a gratuity-free policy by the end of the year.
Both restaurants are owned by chef John Taboada—who also owns the Angel Face bar next to Navarre—begin their no-tipping policy by the end of the year.
Those restaurants will join Bent Brick, Park Kitchen, Farm Spirit and Gabriel Rucker's French-influenced Le Pigeon—which topped Willamette Week's list of the finest restaurants in Portland in our October 2015 restaurant guide
All will display a logo developed by New York restaurateur Andrew Tarlow (Reynard, Wythe Hotel) declaring themselves gratuity-free establishments.
In all cases, the prices on the menu will rise, but instead of the majority of the money going to the server, it will also be distributed to the cooks, dishwashers and everybody else responsible for making the restaurant what it is. Under current tipping policies, servers often receive drastically higher compensation than chefs, when tips are factored in.
Which is to say, the wage will be paid by the restaurant directly, and not each diner who walks in.
Recent circuit court rulings have made the common practice of tip pooling, in which servers tip out back-of-house staff from their tips, a much more fraught issue—in many cases forbidding tips to be shared with cooks and dishwashers who don’t interact with customers.
The move to drop tips has not been without hitches, however—nor prominent defectors. Pok Pok restaurateur Andy Ricker opened with a no-tipping policy, then stopped it abruptly, declaring Los Angeles “not ready.” then started them up again, at his Los Angeles restaurants.
Kurt Huffman, owner of ChefStable restaurant group (Ox, Lardo, St. Jack, Oven and Shaker), ardently advocated for no tipping—and opened many-tapped beer-bar Loyal Legion with a no-tip policy—then walked back both Loyal Legion’s Tipping policy and his support of the idea, declaring gratuity-free policies a “terrible idea.”
Le Pigeon will begin its no-tipping policy this Saturday, June 18. Vegan restaurant Farm Spirit is already tip-free—as it has been since opening in June 2015. Park Kitchen will drop tips July 1, and Bent Brick will drop tipping July 2.