I've been pretty good through this "closing" thing, emotionally that is. I haven't cried. Until today. So far - and it is 10AM - I've already had three weepy moments. I managed to keep it together through the last days with the staff, the last service on Saturday and the Party last night, but now that I no longer have to be strong...well, all bets are off. I went upstairs to see Randy this morning and I was crying before I even got to his office!!
A few final pictures of our final moments.
I wanted to take pictures of all the crews, lunch and dinner, but I only managed to get one of the day crew. Tiffany, Deiona, Sheronda and Mandrell have been a team for only a few months, but they were the best yet. No drama among this group, just hard work and good attitude. Sure, maybe we had a little trouble getting Tiffany to work in a timely fashion, but still, no complaints. They will do well in their next positions, no matter where they land.
Connie and Stu Godwin, along with Sinja Whiteley came in for the last supper, wearing their Brooks Tavern T-shirts! Yes, they knew they were on backwards - the better to see them with! The Godwins have been huge Brooks Tavern supporters, with always kind words for the staff and happy compliments for Kevin.
Mog Grosh didn't make it past the front desk before she began to tear up. Like the Godwins, the Groshes have been-several-times-a-week regulars for a very long time. We will miss seeing them.
The staff managed to take a selfie at the Party last night. Or maybe it was Lisa taking it for them. A nice shot of a great group of people.
And a last shot of Randy with a few of the kitchen crew and myself, at the end of the night last night. I think the best thing about our Party was having the cooks walking around passing out the food. They had such a good time with that! Meeting the customers and making small talk, it was a blast for them, and the guests certainly enjoyed the interaction as well.
And, if it weren't for Randy's vision, none of this would have happened.
It's been a great run! We have enjoyed some measure of success at Brooks Tavern, which I translate to mean making people happy in our dining room. It has been a fabulous 7+ years at 870 High Street, and we are certainly going to miss the adrenalin rush that is a part of running a busy restaurant. We will miss the customers, who have become friends in the way it can happen in this hospitality business, and we will miss meeting the daily challenges of making it all come together in time for service twice a day. Sure, there are a few things we won't miss, but they are mere shadows of the positive experiences we have had since we opened the doors to the Ironstone Cafe 28 years ago.
Are we going to be happy in our new life, without a restaurant to call our own? Time will tell. It has been our sole focus for so long, it will take some weaning to get it out of our system. Fortunately, we have our new venture to keep us busy in the coming months, so maybe the transition will be less traumatic than I am worrying it will be.
Thank you all for your unwavering support over the past quarter century. We feel very grateful that you have made it possible for us to forge a living here in Kent County, doing work we love with people we respect in the best of all possible worlds - the Eastern Shore of Maryland. We are very, very lucky and we know it.
Thank you thank you thank you!
Peace out one last time!