My Pen Is Mighty

Should You Approach Celebrities At Restaurants?

The rules of engagement with famous people are not that complicated, but know when to give them space.

Audarshia Townsend
Published in
4 min readNov 18, 2021
Will Smith takes a picture with a fan. Note that he is at a promotional event and not at a more intimate family dinner. Image: Getty

Them: If Idris Elba was seated next to your table at a restaurant, what would you do?

Me: I’d have to tranquilize myself so I wouldn’t bother him.

You think I’m kidding? I most certainly am not. Celebrities deserve to be able to eat in peace at restaurants without worrying about fans clamoring for photos, autographs, a kiss, or conversation. They owe us nothing.

Way too many times I’ve read posts on social media from people complaining about so and so was rude to them “when all they wanted to do was get a photo,” and it’s just not cool. I’ve also heard stories about parents trying to guilt famous people into signing an autograph for their kid, yet they were denied because that person was eating dinner.

People get upset when they’re shooed away, but they have no idea what’s going on at that table. There could be a major breakup going on. Or a business dinner. Or that celebrity could have just been delivered some very bad news of death of a loved one. Even simpler, that person could just be in a foul mood and doesn’t want to be bothered. Therefore, approaching a complete stranger and thinking that person should be warm and fuzzy to you because “she’s your best friend in your head” is ludicrous.

But then again, I totally get it. More than ever, celebrities are baring their souls on social media. It really is over the top. Will Smith — who was notoriously one of the most private actors out there — suddenly will not shut up about what’s going on in his marriage to Jada. Kanye’s drama with Drake is simply exhausting. And this thing with a bunch of famous folks not bathing?! GAH.

Put your business out there and people will want to engage you. That’s human nature. But celebs deserve privacy when they’re unwinding with family and friends — even when they’re so-called “fame whores.”

I distinctly recall an incident several years ago when Kim Kardashian was visiting Chicago, and she decided to dine at one of the most popular downtown steakhouses. It’s an…



Audarshia Townsend
Writer for

Audarshia Townsend is a Chicago-based journalist who writes about how food & beverages impact the culture and industry. Email: