Provocatively Sized Restaurant Napkins

This past summer, Carly and I went up to Grand Marais for a weekend with Kyle and Katie Cannon and visited the excellent Angry Trout Cafe for dinner. For those not familiar with the Angry Trout, it’s an eco-friendly, sustainable-focused restaurant that uses locally grown vegetables, Lake Superior fish, and no multi-national pop.

They not only live it, they also evangelist their sustainable values through a book where they explain why they make the choices they do about food, place settings, and decor.

One choice they’ve made stood out to us on out visit: their napkins. They’re made of unbleached cloth, and are much smaller than what you’d typically receive at a restaurant. Apparently, this is the most sustainable way to make a napkin.

The Angry Trout describes their napkins as “Provocatively Small.” What people are provoked to do isn’t entirely clear. Write blog posts, perhaps? I’m feeling provoked right now.

I couldn’t find a picture among my photos from that trip, but I found this shot of three provocatively small napkins on Flickr:

Angry Trout Napkins

And here’s a close up of one next to a provocative plate:

Provocatively Small Napkin

Personally, I’m starting have some doubts about whether The Angry Trout’s napkins are really all that provocative. For example, I couldn’t find a single photo from the Angry Trout where the napkin was the subject. There is this shot of a napkin, but it doesn’t highlight the napkin’s provocatively small size.

Perhaps you need to go large to provoke? Now HERE is a provocative napkin held up by Kyle at a restaurant in Buenos Aires, Argentina:

Kyle with Napkin

Another perspective:

Kyle Cleaning up a Mess

And here’s one from another Buenos Aires restaurant:

Ed With Napkin

Argentina doesn’t have to go big to provoke. They can play the small game too, as Carly shows:

Carly with Napkin

And Kyle cleaning up post-croissant:

Kyle Post-Croissant

Upon returning from Buenos Aires, Kyle and Katie stopped by the Longfellow Grill for an American breakfast. But before they had a chance to eat, they were provoked by the napkins:

Longfellow Grill Napkin

The Longfellow Grill’s napkins are made out of a provocative terry cloth like a hand towel. I’m not sure why this is done. Perhaps their clientèle is prone to large spills?

Notice the beach towel’s worth of hand towels / provocative napkins on the table behind Kyle.

Have you been provoked by a napkin? If so, where and why? Or, what would you do to provoke people with your napkins if you ran a restaurant?

2 thoughts on “Provocatively Sized Restaurant Napkins”

  1. That’s funny… I noticed in Colombia that napkins were not only hard to come by (you often had to ask for them), but also quite small — so small that many Colombians just crumple it up in one hand while eating since it too easily slips off your lap.

    Martha tells me it’s a cost-saving measure… But I like the provocative idea, too!

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