Bamboo placemats in chino and Basketweave placemats in khaki used at Le Bernardin in New York

9 Reasons Why Top Restaurants Love Chilewich Placemats

What do Le Bernardin, Fred at Barney’s, and the Mandarin Oriental Miami have in common?  They’re all uber stylish, and they all use Chilewich placemats in their dining rooms.

Bamboo placemats in chino and Basketweave placemats in khaki used at Le Bernardin in New York

Bamboo placemats in chino and Basketweave placemats in khaki used at Le Bernardin in New York

All three shops run thousands of covers a year, which means that their tableware has to be both beautiful and practical.  And because mealtimes are so busy, they all need easy ways to keep tables clean and ready.  Which, when you think about it, is exactly what every home needs.  We love having guests over, but instead of cringing every time little Joey and Amanda spill ketchup on the table, we’ve learned to be smart and use the same Chilewich woven vinyl placemats these beautiful restaurants use.

Here’s why they’re so well loved.

1) They are very durable.  With over 2,500 restaurants around the world using Chilewich (including Colicchio & Sons in New York) every single day, they’ve been heavily tested in the hospitality world and clearly made a product that has stood the test of time.  At home, with regular use, they can last 10-15 years.

2) They require little or no care.  To clean, just wipe with soap, water, and sponge and air dry.  No ironing or machine washing is ever needed.

3) They’re designed for indoor and outdoor use.  Which means that they can be used year-round, at breakfast, by the pool, and on the yacht.  What could be easier?

Bahia Hotel and Beach Club, Cabo San Lucas

Bahia Hotel and Beach Club, Cabo San Lucas

4) They’re well priced.  With most placemats priced at under $20 each, these are a breeze to own.  From dorm rooms to White House state dinners, we’ve seen them used elsewhere (don’t forget about Fido’s pet bowl!).

Chilewich runners at a Nordic State dinner given by President Obama (Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP)

Chilewich runners at a Nordic State dinner given by President Obama (Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP)

5) They come in multiple chic textures.  Sandy Chilewich’s original style, Basketweave, is still a big seller.  But Fringe, which features delicately edged borders, and Mosaic (reminiscent of worn tile surfaces) are perfect for a slightly more boho look.  Want something more artsy?  Take a look at Blocks, reminiscent of a Mondrian painting.

A selection of blue Chilewich placemats

A selection of blue Chilewich placemats

6) They’re available in every color imaginable.  Whether you’re looking for a neutral, a dark color, or a fun plaid, you’ll find what you need.  And in many pieces, you’ll see that the color changes constantly: that’s because the custom vinyl yarn used to make these pieces has subtle gradations throughout.

Mini Basketweave Placemat in Clementine

Mini Basketweave Placemat in Clementine

7) They’re antimicrobial.  All Chilewich woven vinyl products contain Microban® antimicrobial protection, which works to inhibit the growth of stain- and odor-causing bacteria, mold and mildew.  Who wouldn’t want this peace of mind?

8) They’re environmentally friendly.  Compared to conventional woven vinyls, which are made using petroleum-based compounds, Chilewich uses an innovative yarn called TerraStrand which contains 25% renewable vegetable content.  So they’re better for the environment.

9) They’re made in the U.S.  About 90% of all Chilewich products are made in Alabama and Georgia, which allows Sandy Chilewich (“I don’t want to deal with long lead times,” she says) loads of design freedom.  Plus, turnarounds on custom pieces (available in every color and almost every design) is very quick … usually less than four weeks.

So now you’re in on one of the service industry’s biggest secrets.

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