Monday, September 17, 2007 by Ospite.
2 notations

Back up and running is Holy Observer, a hilarious site run by a few friends of mine. Read with a grain of salt...lest you become a pillar of one.
Sunday, September 16, 2007 by Ospite.
4 notations

Friday night was chaos. Complete and utter chaos.

Half of the line was new and half of the line was veterans. What was causing the disastrous debacle? New "roll-outs."

We've been bought out and our menu changed a little. The staple chicken parmesan dish has been drastically changed and it's become wildly popular. On top of that, the ticket time for the dish has been extended to 16 minutes. So on a Friday night when the kitchen has underprepped the chicken parms, is training a pack of newbies, and the host staff was compiled of 3 girls lost in space, it was a wonderful addition to the mayhem that the foodrunners were also new and didn't remember table numbers.

Can you tell the Trattoria just went through a hiring wave?

Included in this onslaught of fresh meat were: 2 new dishwashers, 3 new waiters, 2 foodrunners, 4 chefs, 3 hostesses, and a bartender.

The groove was off enough that the regulars were curious about the air of confusion. To the ones I new relatively well, I went right ahead and explained. For the irregular customers (and I do mean irregular) there was a lot of ignoring going on.

One bizarre table after another...

(the woman who winked at me while her husband and son weren't looking, and had to yell at her mother because she forgot her hearing aid)

(the big Italian-American guy who tried to coach my Italian to impress his tiny blonde trophy girlfriend despite the fact he americanized every diphlong and couldn't roll his r's)

(the arrogant prick that sent back two glasses of Ecco Domani merlot because it "didn't taste right," but the third glass from the same bottle was "excellent." It's a $5.50 glass of wine.)

...was just icing on the cake.

When it was time for me to be cut from the floor I was overjoyed until I realized the girls cut the floor too early and without asking how far to cut. So I was assisting at the podium to finish filling the floor and a 4top with two college girls in volleyball hoodies came almost running in with two remarkably well-dressed parents almost skipping in behind them. I jumped at this table. Two starving athletes just out of a game with parents in from out of town? Gold.

Sure thing, this one night-redeeming table ordered wine, two appetizers, four entrées, three desserts and coffee. The ease of this table was briefly interrupted though by the one really big thing that went down..the thing that I'd never seen in our restaurant before:

Stefano, new dishman number 1, was on pan detail pulling dirty pots and pans from the window between the external kitchen (The Line) and the prep/dish section of the kitchen (The Kitchen). If the chefs aren't caferul, they spill oil and remaining food on the floor in the precarious area making it dangerous for the guys in the back. Stefano speaks primarily Spanish.

Jack, new chef number 1, was on sauté detail, closest to the window. He needed extra space on the window so he shoved pans out of the way. Stefano was below cleaning the spills so he wouldn't kill himself. At a particularly ill-timed moment, Stefano ducked out of view and Jack tossed a pan with olive oil through the window. It missed Stefano by inches, he jumped up and started yelling. Jack yelled back, pissed because Stefano wouldn't do his job "properly." One yelling in Spanish and one in English, on The Line that technically is almost on the dining room floor. Finally Jack took a handfull of mushrooms and hurled them through the window. Stefano stormed off.

This was recalled to me by one of the chefs standing right there, I heard the tumult from across the dining room, excused myself from the table, and went straight for the kitchen. At this moment I walked in, followed by the General Manager, two waitresses, and Jack who was coming to find Stefano. Stefano was coming across the Kitchen with a hateful look in his eyes. Right between them was the GM. As soon as Jack saw the look that said Stefano may be a foot shorter but he'd clearly kill him, he stepped back.

"Listen man, I'm sorry. I crossed the line." At this point he raised his hands forward, which Stefano took as a forceful gesture. He stepped forward, threw a cup of Coke in his face and shoved him right in the solar plexus so Jack doubled over, falling into waitres A who I caught, and placed to the side. Here's where those of us who have worked security in the past clicked from restaurant mode to bouncer mode. Dishman 2 pulled off his apron and came up behind Stefano. I threw my towel from my shoulder, dropped the apron and stepped up behind Jack. Jon threw off his towel and came up behind the GM.

The two fighters took one step in, realized that the other 4 of us all moved in at the same moment, and time just stopped. Everything froze. No one spoke. Jack leaned in, Stefano leaned in, and Dish 2 and I moved simultaneously, taking the shoulders of the guy in front of us pulling him back, both taking hold from under one arm, across the chest and over the far shoulder stealing their balance. The GM jumped in,

"Alright alright. Back, guys, back. Jack, get your ass on the line, Stefano, come with me. NOW!"

I walked back onto the floor and completely forgot about the drinks for Table 61...the last 4top with the volleyball players. As I approached I realized that the younger of the girls and I have mutual friends. (why it didn't click before is beyond me)

She called me by name and asked slowly, "Um...what just happened?" I realized my tie was all crooked, my towel and apron both gone.

I literally pulled up a chair, sat down at the head of the table, and recalled the entire night's events to their eager ears. When the tale was done, I continued the service and they finished their meal plesently. I had done all my sidework and there was nothing left, so they asked me to join them while they ate dessert. I gladly complied, giving my night a pleasant finale. Well, ultimately, the finale was the 30% tip.
Friday, September 14, 2007 by Ospite.
72 notations

So tell me people, how many out there are reading this and want it still going?

To be blatantly honest, waiting tables has been the last thing on my mind when I come home from a double shift day, shower, go out and rehearse for 3 hrs. I have very litle desire to rehash the events of the day.

Thus I'm considering throwing in the towel on Buon Appetito!

Is there a steady stream of readers who want me to carry on, or will everyone end up being happy that there are (and always will be) 900 other waiter blogs out there?
Tuesday, September 04, 2007 by Ospite.
6 notations

So we worked it out that I could work through the end of the week, a Thurs/Fri/Sat night string of shifts and his busiest. It's not ideal to stick around after being laid off just because there's always a little tension (or such is my guess, having never been laid off before).

The Thursday shift was decent. The Bistro has an open mic/coffee shop time on Thursdays and I'm friends with many of the people who show up. Topher took off for awhile because he was finding it awkward to bum around while I was there. He hadn't planned on me working that week till I badgered him into it, so he had overstaffed...there was no need for him there anyway.

The musician that runs the open mic is one of my cigar-smoking/guitar-toting buddies and when he set up, found there to be almost no one signed up that week, he decided that he and I should just play for the majority of the time. So I hopped on the piano and we went to town.

After some time Topher came back and was mildly pissed that I wasn't behind the bar, but I didn't get up because the three waitresses were sitting around doing nothing at all. He just shot me an evil look, to which I replied with a wave and a smile, then turned back to the keys. ...He let me go early with the girls and he closed by himself.

I walked in Friday around 4pm only to find that he was again gone. At least I didn't have to work with his seemingly dejected self. I had never seen him so bad when he finally showed up. Borderline suicidal was the best way to describe it. I pulled him aside:

"Listen, I did the math. I'm picking up a few extra shifts at the Trattoria. Would it help you if you just gave me my money from last week and last night and I got outa here?"

"Actually, yeah, it'd be a huge help."

He went straight to the cash box, pulled out a stack, coutned it out, handed it to me and that was it.

"Thanks." I said, and walked out then and there.

Next door I popped in to the Sushi Bar and sat down.

"What's goin on Waiter?"

..and I told him the whole story.

"Brutal, bro. Sashimi on the house tonight, man."

At your service, Ospite

I am not in the restaurant business, I am in the people business. I use every opportunity to people watch, because to me, even the most mundane is fascinating.

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