It's been very busy here at Brooks Tavern for the past several weeks. Busy on Wednesday nights with the prix-fixe, busy on Thursday nights with the burger mania, busy busy busy on the weekend. Lunch has been steady - not so much busier with the Village Bakery customers wandering around loose, but busy enough. (Kevin swears it is because he is back on the line, and truthfully, the lunch crew is doing a great job, finally working clearly as a cohesive team, with Kevin and Angie at the helm.) It's been great, of course, and not so unusual for September and October here in beautiful Kent County, but it puts a lot of pressure on Kevin and his crew. Last weekend we had two parties of 20, one on Friday night and one on Saturday. We seat them as tables of ten and arrange for a limited menu selection to keep it smooth, but to put out food for two tables of ten, one right after the other, and in a timely fashion, is a challenge for the kitchen, especially with the rest of the dining room clamoring for their food too. They did a great job, but it wasn't without a bit of steam from the boss. Then of course there was the bus load of lunch customers we entertained on Wednesday, and right now Kevin and Rodrigo are setting up food for a carry-out for 25 for tonight. Work Work Work Tuesday through Saturday means Kevin will be doing very little this weekend except to read, eat and sleep.
How does the poor man get roped into all of this extra work? I'm sure you know the answer to that one - moi! We both know that come January and February there will be no extra work for anyone, and our year is 12 months long. It's the nature of the business, the basic seasonality of it. This weekend is the Annapolis Boat Show, which affects us somewhat; next is the Chestertown WildLife Show. The last weekend in October is the fabulous Sultana Downrigging weekend, which has proven to be a major boost for area restaurants, although lately there has been a little grumbling about giving the FishWhistle the priority this year, when it comes to allowing outside food. One of the major advantages for the restaurant workers on this weekend, unlike the Tea Party, is that there are no local, non-profit food booths competing with us for the limited dining dollars. The downside of that is that it has been a little difficult for the visitors to eat on the street. So, this year they are initiating a pilot street-fare type option, allowing Jeff to set up a tent dining room, so to speak, at the foot of Cannon Street. It makes perfect sense, and while FW will be unnaturally busy even without that additional "dining room", it will certainly help feed the hordes who need food over the course of the weekend. But of course there are some who feel it is "unfair". Frankly, we don't envy the FishWhistle; we figure there will be enough business for everyone, and besides, that is going to be a lot of extra work!!! Isn't that what we are trying to avoid?? The Sultana's plan eventually is for all of us to have a piece of that pie, in the form of a "Taste of Chestertown" type venue, supported by many restaurants offering a limited selection of their menu under the big top. If they want to participate, that is. We'll see. Mostly I admire Jeff for stepping up to the plate and accepting this responsibility. And I admire the Sultana for continuing to allow local businesses to benefit from the swollen customer base their event allows.
So, are you missing the report from Wednesday's prix-fixe? Here it is:
First course was this salad of mixed greens, mozzarella and balsamic vinaigrette.
That was followed by a "chicken fried" pork cutlet, with capers. Very good. Dessert was Angie's pineapple up-side down cake, of which there is no photo. I think we served all but three orders of the menu.
Last night's burger special, however, was not so favored. The special burger was topped with a roasted pineapple, onion, ham and mustard salsa, with Swiss cheese. We served plenty of burgers last night - the dining room was packed all the way through the 8 o'clock closing hour - but it was more regular cheese burgers than special ones. At some point Kevin was grumbling about the situation, moaning why all these cheese burgers and no special burgers?? My response had to be the cold, hard truth - maybe, honey, they just didn't like the sound of pineapple relish on their burger. Sorry honey, but what else could it be? Oh well, next week we'll come up with something more acceptable. At least people still supported our burger night, even if they might not have supported the special. That's the main thing, eh?
Supposed to be a perfectly beautiful weekend coming up. Get out there and do it and then come on down for some of Kevin's creatively delicious meals. We'll be ready for you!