Recently my wife and I stopped into one of our favorite restaurants (let’s call it Billy’s Burger Barn for now) to enjoy a comforting meal and perhaps a cocktail or two after a rough Monday at the office. As we drove into the parking lot our first thought was “Uh Oh, they look busy tonight” but agreed that we should stay because it was getting to be dinner time and no matter where we went it would probably be as hectic and busy as this.
Not one to like to wait in line, and having been in this environment as a restaurant employee, (it makes me edgy and I feel like I need to help out) I sighed and opened the door for my wife like the gentleman I was raised to be.
Yes indeed, the place was indeed packed to the rafters, but there was only one couple ahead of us and they were being led off to be seated.
“Table for two?” inquired the hostess”
“Yes please, a booth if possible” said the lovely and fetching Mrs. Politte.
“We have one in the back, please follow me” replied the young lady as she gathered our menus and graciously took us to our booth in the corner away from the children who were playing soccer with salt and pepper shakers in the aisle as the wait staff tried not to trip over them and their parent looked on with pride and admiration.
Out of nowhere popped up our server.
“Hello, may name is Debbie and I will be taking care of you tonight. Our specials are gorgonzola stuffed chicken breast with baby red potatoes and grilled asparagus, or a bacon and parmesan cheese frittata served with a Caesar salad. May I get you something from the bar?”
“Why yes please, do you have Sam Adams?” I queried
“Draught or in the bottle?” “We have both”
“A bottle please, and my wife will have an E & J Brady and diet in a chimney.”
“Great, I will be right back with your drinks, and I will let you decide what you would like for dinner.”
As we sipped our drinks and watched the hustling and pandemonium of dinner service, I couldn’t help but think how it is like a perfectly planned military assault. If you are prepared and trained for the battle, you will make a busy dining room hum along as precisely as the New York philharmonic. If you are not, carnage will consume the service. Luckily we were here on a good night.
Our food arrived a little later (a good sign the kitchen was in synch also), and it was fantastic. I had the Osso Bucco with Wild Mushroom Risotto, and the earthiness of the mushrooms in the Bordelaise sauce went perfectly alongside the tender pork shanks that were expertly braised in red wine. My wife had the Chicken and Fettuccine Alfredo that was so rich and velvety you could anchor a cruise ship with it. She usually lets me partake in what she cannot finish, but I received a fork to the back my hand as I tried with no success to take her plate from her.
Being too full for dessert, we order the triple chocolate cake to take home, paid our bill and said goodbye to Debbie and the busboys who were cleaning up the cracker crumbs and straw wrappers from the food fight at table 13.
As I reflected on our drive home, I thought to myself how sometimes we don’t appreciate all the things that have to go right in order for us to get a great meal and exceptional service, and how one little thing can ruin a night out-if you let it.
We should always remember those who take care of us when we do eat out, whether it is breakfast, lunch or dinner, drive through or delivery. They work hard, very hard, and sometimes don’t get the thanks they deserve.
So thank you Debbie, cooks, busboys and bartenders. Thank you hostess, cashiers and managers, we had a great meal and we are glad you made it come to pass. We will definitely be back again.
But right now I am going home to have some cake and put Neosporin and band-aid on the back of my hand.