#RampMyRestaurant: Break Down Barriers!
Our wheelchair travel expert Virali Modi is pro-actively engaged with Enable Travel’s #RampMyRestaurant initiative, which focuses on making restaurants accessible for wheelchair users. Recently, she inaugurated the Divyangjan Project at Kerala’s Ernakulam Junction, which now has portable ramps to board trains, smaller wheelchairs to move around the train and trained luggage porters to assist disabled passengers.
How important is it to have accessibility within restaurants? Well, imagine this: You’ve made plans with your friends and you’ve picked out the restaurant you’re keen on trying out for a long time. You get there, and turns out that the place has stairs leading up to the entrance. There’s no elevator nor does the restaurant provide a ramp. What are you left with? Do you ask them to physically lift you along with your wheelchair? This obviously presents the risk of falling, which would cause immense embarrassment along with physical pain. Would you decide to go to a different place? If you choose the latter, you now end up calling restaurants to enquire if they’re accessible for wheelchair users. You are finally forced to settle for a restaurant that you aren’t very eager to visit, because that’s the only option you’re left with.
Such situations are exactly why I got on board Enable Travel’s #RampMyRestaurant initiative. I audited about 30 restaurants in Mumbai that were marketed as wheelchair accessible. To my dismay, I realised most of them were not accessible at all. The last thing I expected was accessible interiors, when the entrance itself wasn’t wheelchair-friendly. Imagine the embarrassment I faced when I was physically lifted by three men. I felt humiliated. The constant feeling of being helpless and the obligation that we, as wheelchair users, face is the reason why we are apprehensive about stepping out of our homes.
For something as basic as accessibility, wheelchair users in India are confined to their homes. Everybody deserves to step out and lead a normal life; everybody deserves to feel equal.
#RampMyRestaurant sheds light on an often ignored ‘minority’, which makes up 15% of the world’s population. It creates awareness about inaccessibility and urges restaurants to use ramps. And in fact, hotels don’t have to re-do their infrastructure; they just have to provide portable ramps. Something as simple as a dining place having a ramp could make us feel equal, or should I say ‘normal’, like any able-bodied person. My dream is to watch this campaign turn into a good practice, which promotes accessibility.
But not everything is bad here in Mumbai. Here’s a list of four super cool restaurants that ARE accessible (only in terms of the entrance though). I’m sure you’ll enjoy these places.
1. Café Zoe – Lower Parel
If you’re in the mood for creative cocktails and enjoy jazz music, then this is the place to be. Pick a corner to read a book in or enjoy a live show in the evening; this place really lives up to its reputation. It’s spacious, a bit quirky, and the staff is extremely courteous and helpful.
2. Phagun – Juhu
If traditional Indian food is what you fancy, then you may want to check out this beautiful, accessible restaurant in Juhu. It’s hidden away from the traffic, and is well known for its fantastic Indian fare. When I tried the food here, I was blown away by its impeccable presentation. The place is beautifully lit, spacious and really intimate.
3. El Toro – Bandra West
Been here a lot, and this place never disappoints. It’s one of the most authentic European restaurants that I have been to. It’s on the ground floor, semi-spacious, with an extensive menu of delicious finger-food, main course and toothsome desserts. This is definitely a place you should visit if you’re looking to try appetising authentic European food. Personally, this is my favourite restaurant and Enable Travel hosts its Travel Tales event every month at El Toro.
4. Eat Around The Corner – Bandra West
Located in one of the alleyways of Bandra, this place sits away from the hustle and bustle of the city. Spectacularly spacious, the place can accommodate many wheelchair users. The outdoor seating here is beautiful; the walls are adorned with adorable monochrome paintings that perfectly compliment the lights. You must try the pizzas here and the macaroni and cheese burger. If you’re more of a health freak, they have really good healthy options available as well.
Just like these four restaurants, I’m optimistic that with your support, other restaurants will also become wheelchair accessible and will ‘ramp up’ soon! All you need to do is click on the link below and sign the petition.
Click Here: https://www.change.org/p/food-doesn-t-discriminate-why-should-restaurants-make-restaurants-wheelchair-friendly?recruiter=88434868&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=copylink&utm_campaign=share_petition
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