Friends, don't let friends order Water With Lemon

When restaurant servers hear “Water With Lemon” they must think, “Kill Me Now.”

They know Water With Lemon is the gateway drug to Dressing on the Side, Can We Split the Check, My Friend and I Are Going to Share the Goat Cheese Salad and even worse, I Already Ate.

One of my committees met at a local restaurant in the months leading up to our annual charity event. They always let us claim prime real estate – a large table in a semi-private dining room.

How did we repay this kindness? With gallons of Water With Lemon.


Restaurants typically don’t charge for water, but it isn’t free. Glasses don’t wash themselves, lemons don’t slice themselves. Someone has to refill your glass. WWL means a much smaller tip for your server, and since there’s a heftier profit margin on drinks than food, the restaurant may barely break even on a table that’s awash in Water With Lemon. Does that seem fair?

I’m troubled by bargain-minded advice columns that suggest sticking to Water With Lemon as a way to trim costs. It’s unfair to restaurants to game the system like that.

But I doubt  people order Water With Lemon out of malice. They’re on a diet, or are on a budget, or just don’t feel like having a cocktail or drinking a soft drink with dinner. If you’re pregnant, never mind. Keep guzzling that WWL.

Otherwise, man up, ladies. No more Water With Lemon.