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If You Need to Write a Note Like This To Your Server, Stay at Home

We in the food and beverage industry have an inherent desire to please our customers. Some of us are eager to satisfy the needs of our customers because it fills our soul with joy and contentment knowing that we have contributed to a dining experience that has made someone else happy. Others of us do it because our fucking tip depends on it and if Connie isn’t happy with our service we know she’ll hold onto that 20% gratuity like it’s the last glass of Chardonnay at meet and greet for single moms over the age of 40. In other words, you will never be able to pry a decent tip from her cold, dead, overly-manicured hands.

I am always puzzled when someone goes to a restaurant and then feels the need to write out what they want since it’s so different than what’s offered on the menu. I mean, if the menu is so far off from what you want to eat, why the fuck are you there? Case in point, is this order for three Ranchero tacos that seem unlike what a Ranchero taco is meant to be:

“No meat, no pico, no jalapeño aioli, so cilantro and no queso fresco.” So far, this order of Ranchero tacos sounds like a plain old plate of empty ass taco shells. But then, the author of the note (probably someone like the aforementioned Connie) asks that the shells be filled with black beans, rice, avocado (a lot, please!), tomatoes, a small amount of lettuce, cheese, and Ranch dressing.

Okay, first off, queso fresco is fucking cheese, Connie. It literally means “fresh cheese,” so do you or don’t you want to have cheese on your taco? You can’t ask them to hold the queso and then have them add cheese instead. That’s like saying you don’t want a margarita but instead you’ll have tequila, lime juice, triple sec, and agave shaken over ice and poured into glass with a salted rim. Same thing, lady.

Secondly, if you want extra avocado, you have to order extra avocado. We aren’t going to give it to you for free just because you said please in your stupid little note and added and exclamation point. Avocados are literally worth their weight in gold these days. Last week, I paid $3.00 for one fucking organic avocado at Whole Foods, so if you want extra, expect to pay for it. You also specified you only want a small amount of lettuce, but leaving off a tablespoon of shredded iceberg lettuce doesn’t give you the key to unlimited, all-you-can-eat avocados.

Thirdly, it’s spelled A-V-O-C-A-D-O.

Fourth, if the menu at the restaurant you have chosen to go to is so wildly inappropriate for what you eat, don’t go there. I’m sure there’s a place that can cater to your needs and will be happy to serve you all the iceberg lettuce and avocados that you want.

Fifth, why is there an apostrophe in the word tacos? Are you trying to show that the tacos have possession over something? The only thing the tacos own is their shame for no longer being allowed to embrace their own Ranchero identity. Or maybe the taco is about to do something. Like the taco *is* about to jump off the plate because it finds the author of the note so completely tiresome.

Finally, who the fuck puts Ranch dressing on a taco? And if you’re eating at a Mexican restaurant that has Ranch dressing anywhere in the kitchen, you should immediately leave the restaurant or prepare yourself for a major side of disappointment.

Stop with the notes, people.

Man’s Heart is Broken Over Loss of Olive Garden Dish

In today’s crazy world, there are plenty of reasons to be sad. Your sadness may derive from the knowledge that the polar ice caps are slowly melting and therefore changing the coastlines around the world or perhaps that innate sorrow stems from the great divide in our country as we struggle to find some sort of commonality in our individual ideals for society. But if you’re a guy named Monty, your sadness is coming from Olive Garden and the fact that they replaced Steak Gorgonzola.

I always believed that one person’s emotions were no more important than another person’s emotions, but thanks to Monty I no longer accept that. Monty has shown me that there are some levels of sadness that are simply more important than others. I mean, Steak Gorgonzola no longer being offered at Olive Garden? Yeah, that’s a grief unknown to most of us and we all need to band together to send Monty our love. Sure, Olive Garden offers a Braised Beef Gorgonzola-Alfredo, but it’s just not the same. We cannot expect Monty to let braised beef into his heart like he did with the steak. What if he falls in love with that dish only to have the culinary team at Olive Garden suddenly decide it’s no longer a viable option and rip it from the menu? Taking an item off the menu is easy, but taking it away from Monty’s heart is just plain cruel.

During Monty’s time of need, I ask that you all send him heartfelt prayers. If you were planning on praying for the victims of the flooding in Missouri or for those suffering in war torn countries on the other side of the world, please put those prayers on the back burner and focus on Monty instead, because this is serious.

And to you Monty, I offer this: I will do everything in my power to get that Steak Gorgonzola back on the menu so that your heart can mend. You may think it will never, ever be the same again, but maybe, just maybe, there is a God who will see your suffering and make things right for you. On your behalf, I have started a petition to get your beloved Steak Gorgonzola back on the Olive Garden menu and if enough of us sign it, maybe someday your heart can be whole again. Prayers to you, Monty. And all of my love.



Bitchy Waiter + Guy Fieri = a Match Made in Heaven!

Over the years, I have poked fun at a lot of people, including myself. Vey rarely has it come back to bite me in the ass because most people are able to take a joke. One of my frequent targets has always been Food Network personality Guy Fieri. All the way back in June of 2012, I called him a douchebag. In April of 2014, I wrote about his new Times Square restaurant and totally trashed his menu even though I’d never eaten there. In June of 2016 I wrote a post about Anthony Bourdain and some of his amazing quotes, one which was about his dislike for Guy’s cooking. In January of 2017, I mentioned that eating at Guy’s restaurant was like wrestling an alligator. Yes, I have been a total asshole to Guy Fieri.

You would think after years of trashing a person like that, they wouldn’t want anything to do with me. Well, you would be mistaken.

Guy Fieri has a restaurant on the Atlantic City Boardwalk called Guy Fieri’s Chophouse. It serves up lots of burgers and meat with very few vegetables and almost everything comes with cheese on it. Of course, it’s right up my digestive alley. Guy has been wanting to do a reality show based on one of his restaurants and that’s where I come in! They needed someone to work at the restaurant and be a sort of co-host on the show. They were looking for a server with tons of experience (check!), someone who had a large social media following (check!), someone with an acting background (check!), and someone who had the utmost respect for Guy Fieri and his food (three out of four ain’t bad.)

My agent submitted me for the role about three months ago and it has been a long time coming, but I finally got the call. Yes, I will still be working in a restaurant, but I will also be introducing segments and problem solving for servers on the floor as well as interacting with guests. It will air on Food Network in late 2019 and we have a 12-episode deal. There is no official name for the show yet and it’s just called “Untitled Guy Fieri Project.” Personally, I like “Bitchy Waiter Takeover,” but they aren’t so keen on it. Yet.

Before I took the job, I questioned my agent about the alleged homophobic remarks that one of his producers said Guy made while shooting “Diners Drive-Ins and Dives.” The next time I met Guy in person, he brought up the subject himself. He assured me that the producer who made those claims was a bitter ex-employee who had an axe to grind. Guy told me about his sister Morgan who was gay and died several years earlier. He even showed me the tattoo he has on his arm that he got in her honor. I choose to believe him. Also, the paycheck is good. Like, really good, you guys.

We will begin shooting within the next four to six weeks, but we already have a promo ready to go. If you want to see me and Guy Fieri together talking about our new show (I can’t believe I just said “our new show”), you can click here!

Thank you all so much. I owe this to you!

I Just Found the Stupidest Customer Request EVER

We in the restaurant business are used to ridiculous requests from customers:

“Can I sit on the patio? But I don’t want there to be any sunlight, wind, or bugs.”

“I’d like my burger to be cooked very well done, but still be super juicy.”

“Can you make my drink extra strong but not large me extra?”

No matter how stupid the request is, we can always be certain that an even more stupid request will soon follow. Case in point is this reservation request from Andy who has challenged everyone to top this sheer idiocy of his online reservation:

I caught fresh fish at lake Pleasant. I want the chef to prepare them for my day entree. Should I bring them in live to show the chef the freshness? Will there be a plate charge or will my entree be free since I am supplying own ingredients? Please call Andy.

Good lord, the stupid is strong on this one. Since we do not know how the restaurant responded to Andy’s request, I have decided to respond on their behalf:

Dear Andy,

First off, happy birthday! How wonderful that you were able to catch some fish at Lake Pleasant and we appreciate you wanting to spend your special day with us. However, go fuck yourself. Here in our restaurant, we have something called a menu that allows you to choose exactly what you want to eat. The chef has spent a great deal of time creating this menu and she has no interest in cooking up some sad ass piece of trout that you dragged into your rowboat one sunny afternoon. There is no need to bring the fish in to prove how fresh it is because no one here gives a fuck about it. Even if we did agree to cook your fish for you, which we will not do because that’s just fucking stupid and arrogant to even assume that we would, we still cannot get over the fact that you think it would be free since you are supplying your own ingredients. Andy, unless you were planning on also bringing in some olive oil, herbs, spices, lemon and whatever the fuck side dishes you had in mind for your fish, you are hardly supplying your own ingredients. This is not like bringing in your own bottle of wine and having to pay a corkage fee, asshole. And did you think the chef was going to take time out of a busy night so that your fish can be be cleaned and scaled and filleted? No, bitch, that’s not how restaurants work. There are some restaurants that might do this for you, but surely those restaurants would advertise such a service. Not us, though. Take your fish home and cook it yourself. If you truly want to spend your birthday in our restaurant, then take a look at our menu and see what it is you want. It’s one or the other, Andy. Happy birthday and go fuck yourself.


The Restaurant

Some customer demands never fail to amaze me, but this one takes the cake. (And just because it’s your birthday doesn’t mean the cake is free.)

By the way, if you’re looking for the BEST social media app that is JUST for restaurant staff, please download the StaffVibe app.

Waitress Attacked By Ranch Dressing- Caught on Tape

A restaurant worker saw her worst fear come true this week when she dropped about a million gallons of Ranch dressing and ended up wearing it. Of course the video has gone viral because who doesn’t want to see someone covered in Ranch dressing while their friends and coworkers laugh their asses off?

Seriously, that Ranch dressing came at her with a vengeance as if that creamy deliciousness had a score to settle. It was like an atom bomb of mayonnaise went off and this waitress was ground zero. She’s gonna smell like a Cobb salad for a week. Someone should throw some baby carrots and celery sticks at her and call her an appetizer.

Please watch the video again and again and be grateful that it wasn’t you.

One Time, When I Worked at Bennigan’s…

I love my Mammaw Lillian. I don’t necessarily love being 22-years old and living with her in a suburb of Houston, but this is the path I am on. In an effort to save money so I can move to New York City, I’m living in my grandfather’s former bedroom and blasting Madonna and Broadway musicals in an effort to pretend I’m in my own studio apartment. Soon, I will start my new job. After a few years of working in restaurants as either a busser, food runner or four unfortunate weeks as a dishwasher in high school, I am now taking the extraordinary step of wearing an apron for a living with my first ever serving job at a chain restaurant across the street from the mall. Bennigan’s has some serious expectations when it comes to menu preparedness and I must take three tests before I am allowed on the floor. Every night for two weeks, I sit on Mammaw’s couch and she quizzes me with a set of flash cards that have every single ingredient for every single dish on their extensive menu. By the time I take the test, she knows it better than I do.

“Mammaw,” I yell as I run into the house after acing it. “I passed! I got 95%!”

“Oh, baby, I knew you could do it. I’m so proud of you!”

She pats both of my cheeks with her hands, slightly harder than is comfortable and gives me a hug as if I had just passed the bar exam.

“You can do anything you set your mind to,” she tells me. “Want me to make a chocolate pie to celebrate?”

She doesn’t wait for me to respond because the answer to that question is always yes. She heads to the kitchen and gets out her rolling pin and creates the most amazing dessert without looking at a recipe. It’s about a thousand times better than the brownie bottom pie from work that I know all the ingredients to.

At the restaurant, we are encouraged to have “flair” so that we can express our individuality. Flair can be anything from a bandanna to a button to a pair of suspenders, but one night, when I see Mammaw sitting at her sewing machine, I have an idea.

“Can you help me make an apron for work?” I ask her.

“Of course. I have big ol’ bag of fabric in that closet right there. You wanna get it down for me?”

Inside the bag are dozens and dozens of scraps that maybe someday will be part of a quilt. I find a piece that speaks to me and we spread it out on the dining room table. It’s floral with hints of pink and purple which would be awful as part of a quilt, but will be perfect as an apron that will set me apart from all the other servers at work.

“Now, go get me your apron so we can use it as a pattern. This’ll be easy.”

Watching her with my apron and then cutting the floral fabric, I flash back to when I used to stay with Mammaw as a kid for a couple of weeks at a time in the summer. That’s when she first taught me how to sew. On one visit in about 1978, we made Raggedy Ann and Andy dolls together. Andy was never quite finished and he spent the rest of his doll life only semi-clothed. He now lives in a box in my parent’s attic, still half naked and his face not fully embroidered, but we worked on our dolls for a good two weeks.

“Honey, can you thread this needle for me?” she’d ask. “I can’t see it.”

My eleven-year old eyes and nimble fingers deftly threaded the needle and I couldn’t understand why she wasn’t able to do it herself. Mom and Dad would come to drive me back to Victoria at the end of my visits. I always hated saying goodbye. I’d sit in the backseat and cry because I was so scared it would be the last time I would see her. She was my world when I was a kid and now over twenty years later, I’m here again sitting at her sewing machine. The two of us examine the apron and within twenty minutes, I have the best possible piece of flair for my new job.

“Everyone is going to be so jealous of my apron,” I tell her as I tie it around my waist, so happy to finally be a waiter.

A few days later, I’m at work when Mammaw and her church friend Irene show up for lunch and sit in my section.

“You see that apron?” Mammaw says to Irene. “He made it all by himself.”

“Well, we made it together,” I add. “And a couple of other people want one too, so I told them I’d make them one.”

“Oh, it sounds like you can start your own business. I’m so proud of you.”

Mammaw is always proud of me. The two of them look over the menu, but I notice that Mammaw’s look is purely cursory, seeing that she knows it just as well as I do.

“I think I want the Oriental Chicken Salad,” says Irene.

“That does sound good,” Mammaw tells her, “but I don’t think I’d like the crunchy fried onions.”

“Oh, are there crunchy fried onions on it?” Irene asks me.

“There are,” Mammaw answers for me. “And mixed greens, red cabbage, scallions, mandarin oranges, tomatoes, fried chicken and a peanut dressing.”

Irene looks at me for confirmation and I nod my head. Mammaw Lillian knows her shit. They eventually decide on the Oriental Chicken Salad for Irene while Mammaw orders the Monte Christo, which we both always thought sounded so delicious when we studied the menu together. The tip they leave me is by far the best one of the day. It’s almost as much as I made on my first day on the floor when I walked with sixteen dollars.

When I get home, I go through the bag of fabric to decide what to use for my first custom apron orders. “No two will be alike,” I had told my coworkers. Deciding against any of the floral pattern that my own apron is made from, I come across a small snippet of red and white gingham that I hadn’t seen since 1978 when Raggedy Ann and Andy were at the sewing machine. I decide that every apron I make will have at least one piece of this fabric, an homage to Mammaw and her sewing skills and also that she is the one who drilled this restaurant’s menu into my brain. Periodically, she checks on my work, approving each cut and stitch and by the end of the night I have two aprons that will soon be considered the most awesome of flair.

The next morning, Pamela and Tim are thrilled with my work. They each pay me five dollars and for the rest of the day, whenever I look at their aprons and catch a glimpse of that red and white gingham, my heart swells with love for Mammaw.

Living with her is only temporary and there are times I can’t wait to be out from under the watchful eye of my grandmother, but I hope the six months I plan to spend with her will permanently imprint all of my memories about her. I never want to forget her laugh or how she talks on the telephone or how she always balances her checkbook with a calculator and then does it again manually just to make sure the calculator was right. As an adult, I know I’ll never have it as good as I do with her, living with someone who truly enjoys caring for me. When I get my own apartment, there won’t be anyone there to make a chocolate pie or to lovingly pat my cheeks to the point of slight discomfort. And when I get another restaurant job, there will not be anyone as good as Mammaw Lillian is when it comes to using flashcards to memorize a new menu.

This story is part of what I hope will become my second book.