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The restaurant scene is taking an old tradition with a modern twist as communal tables make a comeback in restaurants across the country. From the busy streets of New York, Chicago and Boston to smaller cities, these large tables that can accommodate multiple parties are becoming increasingly popular.

Historically, communal tables were the norm in European inns and dining rooms until private tables emerged in the 19th century, first in Paris. Despite this shift in the West, communal seating continued to flourish in countries such as Japan and other parts of Asia. Today, as society grapples with the isolating effects of the digital age, these restaurant tables are re-emerging as spaces that encourage social interaction and community building.

Communal tables that seat 8 to 16 guests are a nod to times gone by and a smart business strategy for restaurateurs. They maximize seating capacity and provide a flexible option for accommodating larger groups that may require a complex arrangement of smaller tables.

For guests, the experience of dining at a communal table can be a leap out of their comfort zone. Still, many find it a refreshing opportunity to connect with new people and turn a simple meal into an unforgettable social event. The concept encourages guests to socialize in increasingly rare ways in our screen-dominated lives and offers the opportunity to meet friends they never knew they had.

Whether dining alone, with friends or socializing, communal tables offer a unique dining and social experience that combines the charm of historic dining with the dynamic needs of modern life. So next time you’re out and about, consider opting for the communal table – it could transform your dining experience.