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Dining without a phone: Serrano's Mexican Restaurants testing it out once a week

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Posted at 5:36 PM, May 23, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-23 20:56:18-04

PHOENIX — What would dinner look like without a cell phone within arm's reach? No buzzing to signal a new text message. No strobe light-like flash to take a quick photo of a salad. I mean, can you say you even had dinner (or brunch) if a photo wasn't posted on Instagram?

One restaurant in the Valley is testing it out. (Before we go on, let's be clear -- no, the restaurant is not banning cell phones.)

It is called "#DeviceFreeDinner nights." It is an idea borrowed from Common Sense Media, a non-profit organization that rates kid-friendly movies, TV shows, and websites for families, among other initiatives. It works just like it sounds.

On Thursdays, from 5 p.m. - 9 p.m., Serrano's Mexican Restaurants, which has five locations in the East Valley, will have a basket on each of its tables and guests will be encouraged to put their cell phones and other devices in them. The idea is for people to talk to one another and for families to talk to their kids without distractions.

There will also be a set of "conversation starters" with different questions and prompts on each table.

"If you could eat just one food everyday for a month and nothing else, what would it be?"

"If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go?"

"What’s the best thing about our family?"

"What is your favorite holiday and why?"

“Our family is celebrating 100 years in business this year and we are taking the opportunity to truly get back to our roots, which are centered around faith, family and food,” said Ric Serrano, president and CEO of Serrano’s, in a statement.

As part of the promotion, kids meals will be discounted to $2.49 (they're normally $4.99).

Serrano's has two restaurants in Mesa and one in Chandler, Tempe, and Queen Creek.