Sign language is the rule at Signs, a new restaurant in Church-Wellesley Village

Sign language is the rule at Signs, a new restaurant in Church-Wellesley Village

(Image: Signs Restaurant/Facebook) The sign for Signs. (Image: Signs Restaurant/Facebook)
 

Anyone tired of shouting over the incredible din at most Toronto restaurants may appreciate this new dining option in Church-Wellesley Village. At Signs, which opens later this month near Yonge and Church, the majority of the servers will be deaf, and customers will be encouraged to place their orders using sign language. According to the Star, owner Anjan Manikumar envisions the restaurant as a refuge for deaf workers and diners, and an educational opportunity for the hearing public.

For non-proficient signers, there will be aids: a hearing hostess will introduce customers to their deaf servers, and an ASL cheat sheet will help with the ordering process. Still, there’s no saying how things will turn out. “There’s no model,” said executive chef Marc Breton, the former chef at the Gladstone Hotel. “Nobody’s ever done it.” (The cuisine, on the other hand, sounds somewhat less novel—Breton describes it as “a blend of Canadian and international food” with a focus on game meat.)

Anyone looking to brush up on their signing skills prior to the July 16 opening can take their pick from dozens of YouTube tutorials. Otherwise, a single tip: the sign for “cheque, please” isn’t a squiggly little air-writing motion—it’s this.

Signs, 558 Yonge Street, thespectacular.ca