Friday, September 19, 2014

The Thursday Report

It's truly a strange life we are living right now.

It couldn't have been any busier on Tuesday night, and of course I had not scheduled any extra staff.  I believe I was in some kind of denial, thinking it was going to be just like any other Tuesday night at Brooks Tavern.  So, it's me on the bar on the bar, in my usual place on Tuesday nights, as I have been for the past 7.3 years.  But this is not a "usual" Tuesday night, of course. We are super busy - we do as many people between 5 and 8 o'clock as we did on Saturday night between 5 and 9.  What fun!  I tried very hard to keep a positive attitude about the whole thing, but because I was constantly just on the verge of falling into the abyss, it was almost impossible to act as though I was having a good time - which, professionally, is what I was supposed to do.  I spoke to someone the next day, who had been a witness to the previous evenings events, and she commented that I did look busy, but that my demeanor was strictly business-like, not rude or annoyed.  Uh oh.  You know what that means in real talk, don't you?   Bi*chy-like.  I do know that when I was in the back of the house, I was not friendly at all - it was f-this and f-that.  It was impossible to communicate pleasantly with the staff, none of whom deserved to be hassled simply because I was in the weeds.  The two servers were  Lisa and poor Mallory!  Both of them were working their tails off, and Mallory was definitely scrambling to keep up. It was an unconquerable task; all we could  really do was keep our heads above water.

However!  I did break the second place record for making Pear Cosmos on Tuesday night.  I didn't break Charlie's all time high of 23, but I shook up 16, which was 2 or 3 above the previous second place slot.  Woot Woot!

That being said, for the rest of the week we are fully staffed!  We expect to have a pretty rocking house for Thursday and Friday, as our valued clientele comes in for one last Pear Cosmopolitan and Carolina crepe.  Saturday is fully booked with reservations, which will hopefully make that last night of service go smoothly.  And on Tuesday we are having a party!  Most of the staff will be there, working and mingling with the guests.  I look forward to seeing Kevin and his crew out in the dining room for a change, personally taking on some overdue credit for all of their hard work in the name of hospitality.

There have been a lot of "lasts" lately, many of which are a little depressing.  The last order from Bacchus, the last prix-fixe menu, the last time we'll see the driver from Chef's Warehouse...

 ...and the last meal for Karl and Bill.   Karl and Bill are normally bar diners, that and Saturday lunch regulars, but they booked the kitchen table for their final BT dinner last Saturday night.  It was busy, so there was some action in the kitchen, which I think is what it is all about when you eat at the kitchen tall-top.

Another last - Debbie's final shift at Brooks Tavern.  Here she is, flanked by her two kitchen buddies, Sheronda and Tiffany aka "Stephanie".  Debbie will be starting her new job at the Country Club next week, where I hope the staff takes as good care of her as the BT kitchen crew has.  And by the way, according to Debbie, she is having a party here on Tuesday, so be sure to thank her when you see her next week at the Open House!

Since I had a bartender on for this last prix-fixe Wednesday, I was actually able to take pictures of the meal.  

First course was a spinach salad with cheese stuffed cherry tomatoes.
The final prix-fixe entree was Kevin's meatloaf, a particularly good batch too.  The downside was that we sold out by 6:30, which left more than a few meatloaf fans disappointed.  
Dessert was a strawberry sundae, with some balsamic vinagar in the sauce to tart it up a bit.
Thursday's burger night was just about the mania we had expected.  51 burgers went out into the dining room, as well as 15 Pear Cosmos (I still hold my Silver Metal title on that!).  We were cranking; everyone worked very, very hard to insure that our customers had a memorable time at their last BT Burger Night.
Another last - the last order of BT Burgers for Burger Mania going out.  Despite Mallory's big smile, she's feeling a little blue about her BT stint coming to a close.

The Lyons party were the recipients of those burgers.  And in the seat beyond them you can see Doc Blanchard, a regular diner we have mentioned on this site before.  He did not know of the rapidly approaching deadline, so his arrival was quite serendipitous.  He has been a grand supporter of Kevin and I and of our staff since the Ironstone Days, when he and his wife Barbara claimed table 41 each and every Saturday night.

There was also one last Herr Fest for Burger night - four Herrs and their respective spouses gathered together for a final meal together under our roof.  The plans for Herr Cooking Classes are in the works.

This is the prep list for today.  With the uptick in business, there is plenty to do in the kitchen.  In some ways, it is good that work on the Circle has sucked the life out of our lunch trade for the last couple of weeks!  The cooks have so much to do, service almost takes a back seat...

Our guests have shared a lot of memories with me since the news of our departure has surfaced.  One couple told me last night that one of their first dates was at our place, and it is where they became engaged.  Another told me that she had her interview for her job at Washington College at Brooks, and the professor who interviewed her was interviewed 26 years ago for his current position at the college at the Ironstone!  They were dining together one last time with us.   As we wind down our 28 year journey in the restaurant business in Kent County, it is very heart warming to hear stories that typify what kind of place a small business can be fortunate to hold in the local community.  Restaurants especially are a place where memories are made, by way of special celebrations and important milestones.  We are so grateful to have been a part of so many peoples lives for this long, sharing in the good, even in the bad sometimes, and only once in a while the truly ugly.  It's really a very special existence, one that trumps any so-called "hardship" that a restauranteur might encounter.

Stay tuned for a few more "last" posts.

Peace out!

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