During the holidays I had an outrageous restaurant experience that ended with the one and only cook in the place quitting. I was with my daughter at a two-top in a quaint, 35-seat restaurant for lunch. There was a group of eight women at one table, and a family of six at another. That's it. The only server working was a 35-year-old guy with long brown hair and a beard. He was a laid-back stoner dude who should have been surfing, not serving. From this point on, I will refer to him as Stoney.
What little focus he had was directed toward the eight-top. The table of six had completed their meal. At one point, when Stoney walked by, I stopped him to get a recommendation for a bottle of Italian wine since we were in an Italian restaurant. Instead of pushing me to one of the more expensive bottles, he directed me to the least expensive. “I've been to Italy where they make this wine,” he said. “Nobody bothers you there, it's good.” It was the first time I've ever gotten a wine recommendation because people in the region where the wine originates don't hassle you. The wine was good. Nice, Stoney!
Later, I stopped him again to take an appetizer order, and our mussels and soup were delivered promptly. I had to interrupt him again later to place our entrée order. Meanwhile, the large group of women, who had been drinking wine and enjoying themselves, hadn't yet placed a food order. They were clearly there for a long, casual lunch. In this case, a big mistake.
A while later Stoney returned and informed us he could not complete our order because the cook quit.” “Something you said?” I quipped. “No, but I liked the previous cook much better,” he replied. Keep in mind that there are only two people working in this restaurant, and one of them has quit. Where was the owner or manager? Beats me. I asked Stoney if he's also a manager. He is not.
Apparently, he tried to appease the table of eight with free desserts. But by the time he arrived with them, the women were putting on their coats. They were not happy. My daughter, on the other hand, was having the time of her life watching the house burn down around Stoney, who was only slightly flustered. Mean girl? I blame her mother.
After the women left, Stoney arrived at our table with another bottle of wine. Gratis? He didn't say. We declined, and he returned with a bill for the bottle and appetizers we did order. He did not offer desserts. The women were not given a bill, but I paid mine without argument.
As we were leaving, a young guy arrived. “You called in another cook?” I asked. “No, he's the dishwasher,” Stoney replied. “He's off duty, but came in to help out.” “Do you cook?” I asked the dishwasher. “No,” he replied. Perfect, I thought.
A cook quitting isn't uncommon. How do you handle such a situation — besides, of course, calling in a dishwasher? Would you have given me a bill? Email me.