Chef Tim Ban’s Cell Phones at Caterina’s in Fort Worth

Chef Tim Love brings an old-school Italian dining experience to the Fort Worth Stockyards. In his latest restaurant, Caterina’s, old-world ambiance reigns supreme. A press release promises that diners will be met by “the sounds of Louis Prima or Frank Sinatra filling the space.” Staff wear white dress shirts with red vests, in the style of classic Italian spots in New York City’s Little Italy.

Walking in the door will bring a complimentary glass of rosé Prosecco, and sitting down at your table will bring “three varieties of focaccia and a platter of cured meats and aged Parmigiano Reggiano.” And it will also bring someone with a cell phone behind who asks you to put yours away for the duration of the meal.

A display of premium-aged Prosciutto di Parma at the bar at Caterina’s in Fort Worth.
Kevin Marple

Love describes the service to Paper City as “slow dining.” He has also put together an intimate dining room that seats only 40 and bar spots for six. And one of the ways he hopes diners will slow down to enjoy their meal is by being completely present with their parties — that means not responding to texts, checking social media, or taking a quick call.

And no Instagramming your food. Love confirmed that guests would get a follow-up email after they dine with photos of everything they ordered.

“Jackets are required and no cellphones are allowed. The hostess gives each guest a pouch to put their phone in and the pouch stays with the guest the whole dinner,” Love told Paper City. Guests who must are invited to walk outside and use their phones as needed.

The interior of an Italian restaurant has exposed brick walls, green booths, and tables covered in white tablecloths that are fully set for service.

The old school interiors of Caterina’s.
Kevin Marple

Or, you could go way more old school. If someone calls for you at Caterina’s while you’re dining, the restaurant will bring you one of those old-fashioned rotary phones to speak to them on, Fort Worth magazine reports.

And yes, you read that right: Jackets are part of the dress code, and one will be issued to any guest who forgets. Worried about getting sweaty wearing a jacket in this heat? Love thought of that too and has arranged for golf carts to meet guests at the valet stand to avoid long walks and all that comes with them in a hot Texas summer.

“The cell phone thing will no doubt be a hurdle, but I think people will thank me on the way out,” Love told Fort Worth.

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