At Your Service: Dining In A Din

Restaurant noise levels are off the meter

If you go out to eat and find yourself saying "What?" and "Pardon me?" more often than "My, this free-range chicken is tasty!" you're not alone. In their quest for a hip young crowd, a growing number of restaurateurs are turning up the music, jamming folks into tighter spaces and designing their places with open kitchens, high ceilings and hardwood floors--all of which can turn pleasant background buzz into cacophonous din.

We can place some of the blame on chains, such as the Hard Rock Cafe and Rainforest Cafe, which have turned dining into event-style entertainment, replete with waterfalls and bossa...

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