My Thursday morning started as usual, nice and steady as we eased into a great and boarder-line hectic lunch rush. One of my first tables was a one top woman about my age, (too) late twenties if you must know pfft. As I approach her I see a book laying face down on the table and I definitely recognize it.
After dropping of her drink she was ready to order and I ask what she was reading. She happened to have been reading a restaurant related book, which I have sitting on the bookcase in my office at home. I mention that I have my own copy but haven't had the chance to start it. Anyways, it's her favorite book and she is now a bartender and lives "the biz". She was super cool and super low maintenance because it was her morning off. As the restaurant filled and the only other server and myself started spinning I knew the mystery bartender at table 28 was fine with me ignoring her and allowing her time to read, and I knew she was content doing absolutely that: not having anyone to answer to, make any drinks for, stir drinks for, or poor beers for. It was her morning off, yet, this lady was in her comfort zone. Our packed crazy and not-so-spacious dining room was her existing in her element as she read and watched as others were taken care of. And I get it. Let someone else take care of you for a change. And it's even fun watching how other servers or restaurant people work differently together and interact with you (me).
The mystery girl did look vaguely familiar and, yet however much I don't get out anymore there's a chance I could have see her at a bar in the past. She only had a salad and some mussels, but left me big cash. That's what we do, or should do when those of us who do appreciate our industry jobs dine out and receive good to great to excellent service. Hook it up! Like an unspoken bond, she just knew where I was mentally during my crazy lunch rush and I wish I was where she was mentally: relaxing in a contently crazy restaurant dining room with great, fresh food and a good book. Thank you, mystery bartender lady. I will straddle or stumble up to your bar one day.
Do you have any cool stories to share about getting tipped well by a fellow restaurant lifer or you tipping well when you go out? Fell free to comment!
Friday, April 15, 2011
My People, Our people
I have been working in the restaurant industry in the Baltimore-Washington area since my early teenage years and remain a lifer 17 years later, still making my living by feeding the public. I have literally done it all, except ownership which is my only next step, in the restaurant world. From washing dishes in a barbeque restaurant to slinging drinks and managing Corporate Coffee, managing, training for and opening 10 stores for uber-successful Chicago-based sandwich shops in the Washington D.C. area. I now work for my brother, and am happier and make more money than I did working for others, and I'm a Server/Manager.