What is in this article?:
City Table and City Bar general manager Brendan Griffin describes the chaotic days following the attack.
Back to business
(Continued from page 3)
As things began to settle, and Boston started to return to some workweek normalcy, the g.m. received word that the hotel would be able to reopen for business on Tuesday afternoon at 3 p.m.
Griffin brought all the staff in on Tuesday afternoon to clean and restock the bars and the kitchen, and all the outlets were reopened.
“We all rendezvoused at Solas, including the staffs of some of the restaurants that hadn’t yet opened. It was very emotional; everybody was happy to be back into some type of regular routine,” Griffin says.
“The first week we opened we couldn’t keep up with the business. It was crazy, crazy. It was an hour wait just to have lunch. It really didn’t calm down until the first weekend after we opened, and even now, a month after the bombing it’s still going great. It’s one of the reasons that I love the business. The relationships you form with people who come in to your place and end up becoming friends. That’s why I continue to be in the business—the relationships,” Griffin says.
In addition to the overwhelming outpouring of public support for the yeoman service performed by the restaurant and its staff, the entire law enforcement community was also very grateful for the way the restaurant staff and the Lenox Hotel treated them.
“Our hotel g.m. could have said to law enforcement, ‘you’re on your own,’ but that would be totally out of character, he always wants to go way overboard. The comments we’ve received from the officers who have come in for dinner as to how they have never been treated any better are really gratifying,” Griffin says.
That sentiment was perfectly expressed by the wife of one of the FBI agents, who a week later, came in for dinner with his family.
“When this agent came in, he introduced me to his wife and family, and his wife said; ‘Thanks a lot. You’ve made my job a lot harder now,’” Griffin recalls a laugh.
The staff who volunteered to work that week without pay has been equally taken aback by the financial support shown by its customers.
“The customers who came in for the next two weeks after we reopened were just throwing money at our staff. Customers would come in to dinner and say, ‘I was going to donate this to the One Fund, but instead we’d like to give it to the staff who worked all week without any money.”
Griffin recites from memory a letter that he received the first week the hotel had reopened for business.
“’I’ve been reading about your business in the news and my heart breaks for you guys. I wish I could be there to help support your business, now that you have reopened, but since distance separates us, and I can’t be there, here’s my donation. Do with it whatever you see fit.’ It didn’t have a return address, and was signed ‘A friend from Los Angeles.’ Enclosed was a $100 bill.”
On a blustery and cold recent evening, Griffin is once again surveying his room, schmoozing and moving from table to table.
As he pauses to chat with diners, some first timers, others, loyal customers, he exudes a quiet, elegant confidence, putting into practice his hospitality philosophy: “Whatever you put out there comes back at you.”
“I try to treat people well, in hope that in return, people treat us well.”
Paul Kenney is a Boston-based freelance writer.