Served: Irregular Regulars
I blog by day and wait tables by night. I'm excited to bring you Served, dispatches from the front of the house. Enjoy!
Some guests pass through our restaurant fairly anonymously. The exchange is routine: a glass of wine, a plate of cheese, maybe a few friendly words. But many customers make an impression: good, bad, and everywhere in-between.
Our regulars, our friends, make the place what it is. They love what we do and who we are. We love them, too.
Other customers have a more offbeat relationship with our establishment. Here, a few of the quirky characters who color my nights:
A Slice of Cake To Go
I'm giving last call when the Cake Man walks in. I know just what he wants. He orders the same thing every night--a slice of chocolate cake, to go.
Ours is an awesome cake: incredibly dense, bittersweet, layered with ganache, and studded with cocoa nibs. Reportedly he eats it for breakfast, with a cup of coffee and one of O.J. I approve. Totally a breakfast of champions.
It is undoubtedly a cake worthy of a trip next door for (he is our neighbor). But there is reason to believe Cake Man is, or was, motivated by more than cake alone.
When Cake started making appearances, B. cooked on the line. It is an open kitchen in a tiny place. B. is a very cute girl. Cake made it clear that he noticed and appreciated this fact. He flirted away. Big time.
Cake Man was not deterred by her complete lack of interest. We wondered whether he suspected or cared that B. was into girls. And more importantly, that she was utterly uninterested in his relentless advances.
But when B. left her job, Cake continued his nightly cake-procuring ritual. Our new cook is a fine-looking gentleman, but our cake-loving customer remains indifferent to his charms.
As for me--I have brought this man cake countless times, but he has had eyes for B alone. Until last night.
"Tell your boyfriend, the cake is perfect for breakfast."
I played along with the me-having-a-boyfriend scenario.
"Waking up next to you and a piece of chocolate cake," he paused for dramatic effect. "What could be better?"
Where did he conceive of such a line? I failed to stifle my laughter.
He left, but not before urging, insistently, that I be a "face model." Does such a profession exist? Was he implying fault with my body? He is perhaps insane, so I will try not to belabor the implications of his suggestion.
Hot Guy's predominant feature was his egregious hotness. (Thus, we did actually refer to him as Hot Guy.)
His beauty, we at first assumed, explained the fact that he had an impressive number of dates with an endless catalog of women. Nearly every night, he sauntered in with a different woman on his arm.
The situation is familiar to anyone who works at a restaurant. The man you know as part of a couple comes in with someone who is clearly not his wife/girlfriend. You play it cool. It's none of your business.
But this circumstance was exceptional. A different date, every night! Ours is a small place with a small staff, so we obviously knew who he was and wondered what he was up to.
To make matters weirder, we noticed that his date picked up the check without fail. He never once paid. Who were these women? Was this some kind of scheme? A business? An experiment? Was he an escort? A prostitute?
We'll never know. Hot Guy, after a remarkable run, went cold turkey on our restaurant. I wonder if he has a new haunt. Maybe another waiter is running a credit card from his date at this very moment, thinking, "Who is this good looking guy? Who are these infinite women who treat him to dinner?"
The Late Night Chef
I have only seen the Late Night Chef a few times, but I hear he makes semi-regular appearances. The Late Night Chef is, of course, a chef. He works at a restaurant that is part of a hotel and lives nearby. That's what he tells us, anyway.
He comes in after we have closed, while we are doing paperwork, blowing out candles, and stacking chairs on tables. His appearance is dramatic: unfathomable Simpsons character-esque hair, baggy baggy clothes.
He bursts in, says hello, and immediately launches into a fantastic story involving third world countries, unusual cuts of meat, and exotic drugs. Sometimes he brings props and visual aids, like stained-up cookbooks or photographs. His stories make minimal sense (to me, at least). They involve countless plot twists, unrelated tangents, and wild gesticulating. I am often left wondering which drug, or drugs, are fueling the Late Night Chef.
Maybe he is just a little loopy and likes to share his loopy tales with his restaurant neighbors. I'm all ears. I can think of worse ways to end my night.