What is in this article?:
- Boston Marathon bombing aftermath creates quiet heroes
- 'Like time had stopped'
- Supply lines cut off
- Back to business
City Table and City Bar general manager Brendan Griffin describes the chaotic days following the attack.
'Like time had stopped'
(Continued from page 1)
He left Shenanigans around 8 p.m., and caught a cab to his comfortable Milton home and as soon as he walked in the door, he went straight to bed.
On Tuesday morning he received word from his boss Mike Carlisle that the managerial staff should come in, but he missed the e-mail in which Carlisle wanted everyone to come in wearing their New Balance gear, and Griffin, who hitched a ride from his brother, showed up wearing a suit.
“When I walked into the restaurant it was like time had just stopped. There was one table that still had four untouched entrees on it. And Boylston Street, where the bombs had gone off, was just the same. There is an Asian restaurant, Typhoon, located across the street from us, and on a table on its patio sat two plates of food, a purse and a baby stroller, for 10 days. It was just surreal, almost like the end of the world, as if a Neutron Bomb had gone off,” he says.
The management crew, a total of 30, spent the first couple of hours just cleaning. Once that was completed, they switched into serving mode. They were trying to figure out a plan on how to feed all the law enforcement personnel—FBI, city and state police—who had worked all night and started to filter in looking for lunch.
The managers expected that they would be serving lunch for 50-75, and accordingly, prepared a bunch of sandwich trays. The lunch went smoothly.
“There wasn’t much dialogue,” Griffin says. They would just come in, take a sandwich, grab a seat, have some food and go. And any money that they insisted on leaving was all donated to the One Fund Boston. For us, it was a great way to get back into some type of normalcy, to get your mind off what had just happened.”
Expecting the same numbers for dinner the restaurant’s two chefs went about preparing a meal of sirloin, mashed potatoes and green beans for 75.
Those preparations sailed along hitch-free, but there was one unanticipated problem; that 75 for lunch had multiplied faster than the loaves and fishes.
“We had everything all set up in the kitchen for dinner,” said Griffin. “Our chefs left about five o’clock and it was just me and two other managers to handle the dinner, but by 5:30, all the food was gone.”
“So we just started digging in, scrambling to put something out for dinner. One of our front-of-the-house managers, Cailey Platt, went to culinary school, and she went right into the kitchen and started grilling skirt steak, and all kinds of stuff. Once that was gone, we went into the walk-in and started pulling out whatever we could find.”
In the interim, four other managers—including hotel g.m. Dan Donahue, who has a reputation as a talented cook—answered the SOS call and returned to beef up the forces to a robust total of seven.
It is also where Griffin’s Cornell hotel school education was put to the test.
“Now we were simply at the point of just trying to get anything out,” Griffin says. “It became the joke of the week: the “Starch Buffet.” It was rice, mash potatoes, mac and cheese, lettuce and some other carb. That was our menu and we made it with all different variations. We figured we had 15 different variations, and we put it together in a menu form, as if it was a normal menu. It was a lot of laughs.”
By the time dinner service had ended, the estimate of 75 for dinner had ballooned to an eye-popping total of 250-plus law enforcement personnel meals.
On Wednesday morning the number of diners had swelled to 500 for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It continued that way until Friday evening.