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Fed Up LA Diners Are Now Tracking Restaurant Service Charges on a Spreadsheet

Plus, two special menus at Camphor, sweet treats in LA, and more

Inside KazuNori, Downtown LA
KazuNori, Downtown
Elizabeth Daniels
Virali_Dave is a writer and editor in Los Angeles. Born in Mumbai, she has always considered the West Coast to be the best coast. Her writing has appeared in FoodBeast, NBC News, LAist, Life and Thyme, The Ringer, Input Magazine, and more.

Reddit users in Los Angeles have created a Google Sheet listing various restaurant service charges, noting restaurant names, neighborhoods, surcharge percentages, and more details, including notes from conversations with servers and how some restaurants allocate service fees. There are also several additional details shared in a thread, notes KTLA. As Eater’s Amy McCarthy noted last month, service fees have become an often unavoidable aspect of dining, both at restaurants and on takeout orders.

In Los Angeles, some restaurants like KazuNori use service charges in lieu of tips; others, like new Santa Monica pintxos bar and restaurant Xuntos, note on the menu that service fees are not tips. Still others include service charges but do not clearly state the role or purpose, which can sometimes result in customers not leaving servers gratuity on their bills out of apparent confusion or frustration. In June, the Los Angeles Times reported that former Jon & Vinny’s servers filed a class action lawsuit over the restaurant’s 18 percent service charge, sparking wider conversation about the practice. On the Jon & Vinny’s website, a Q&A about service charges reads: “At its core, the service charge is about driving change in our industry — helping ensure our business can thrive in challenging economic environments and compensating each member of our team in a more equitable way — in a way that uniformly increasing our food prices doesn’t allow for.”

The Lark celebrates 10 years in Santa Barbara

Popular Santa Barbara restaurant the Lark marks a decade of service in the beachside destination’s Funk Zone neighborhood. The Independent interviewed chef Jason Paluska about his decade at the restaurant. The Lark is hosting a five-course dinner along with guest chef Nancy Silverton on Thursday, August 24 to commemorate the anniversary. There will also be wines selected by sommelier and wine director Caroline Styne. Tickets are $250 per person and will benefit the James Beard Foundation.

Two special Camphor menus

Michelin-starred French and Indian bistro Camphor launched a limited, 10-item menu on DoorDash yesterday. There are signature dishes along with new ones, like the Camphor chaat salad, made with lettuce, various chutneys, crunchy sev, chickpeas, tomatoes, onions, black olives, and Comté cheese. The restaurant also has a special dine-in menu for August 9; its Steak Frites Night will include an eight ounce steak, frites, and a salad at $65 per person. Reservations are available on Resy.

An annual Guatemalan festival

Popular annual Guatemalan food, music, and culture festival Festival Chapín is holding its seventh festival in Lafayette Park on the weekend of August 26 and 27. The event is free and held from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. There will be several musicians performing, plus crafts and food for purchase, including stewed meats, enchiladas, shucos (hot dogs), and more.

Soft serve and other sweet treats in LA

The Los Angeles Times shared a guide to soft serve in the Southland late last week, including Valley hotspot the CVT food truck and Koreatown’s Bumsan. Not a soft-serve person? The Eater LA guide to ice cream has all forms of summer’s favorite staple.