The Two Rules of Food Service

Tonight I was reminded of two rules Jenn and I have regarding food service:

1.  Everyone should have to work as a waiter at some point in life. It teaches you to be nice.

2.   Once you’re over 25, it’s a bad idea to date people who work in a restaurant or bar, unless they own the place. 

When I was in high school, Carlos O’Kelly’s was the hip place to dine. Unfortunately we didn’t have one in either of our nearby towns.

So when I read in the paper during the spring of my freshman year in college that one was opening in Hutchinson, I immediately submitted my application! It was April, and the restaurant building was still under construciton, so I interviewed with the new general manager in a camper out back.

(Little did I know that he and I would become friends and later take a class for our master’s degrees together in which we were both accused of cheating! We’ll save that story for another post.)

At the end of the interview, he gave me the line of, “We like you, but you don’t live here, so we can’t hire you right now.” But he told me to come back in May when the semester was over and see what was open.

So I trotted back in May, and he hired me on the spot. I became a red-shirt-wearing waitress.

It was a lot of work. I had to be nice. And on occasion, I was able to milk the situation for a good tip, despite the overall perception of Hutch being a “two-dollar tip town.”

The best tip came late one night during the big national softball tournament, when a table of umpires got seated in my section. I flirted. They laughed.

Following restaurant law, after they finished their main courses, I asked if they would be interested in a yummy fried ice cream. They said no.

I made a bet:
You order dessert, and I’ll tie a cherry stem in a knot with my tongue.

They bit.

So I promptly went back in the kitchen, prepared their fried ice cream, tied a cherry stem in a knot and stuck it in my cheek.

I headed back to the table. The guy on the end offered the cherry on top of the ice cream to me. I put it in my mouth, swished it around, and then produced the one I’d knotted back in the kitchen.

$20 tip for Nelly.


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