When I explain to people that I am a blogger, they often think that I have some sort of online diary. I do often introduce topics by relating a personal story, but I try not to write about myself and my life. Every few months I make an exception and this is going to be one of those posts. I need to acknowledge some nice things that have happened lately and confront an issue that has weighed heavily on my heart the last few days. If you want to learn more about how to be a better server or manager, there are over 300 posts here to help. Today, I am writing about what is on my mind.
To start, I have some long overdue gratitude to share with some folks who have really helped me out lately. Let’s start with all of the readers who voted for The Majestic in the recent Best of Kansas City poll in the local weekly newspaper. My restaurant received second place in Best Service, Best Martini, Best Restaurant Ambiance, Best Steakhouse, and Best Sunday Brunch. We also received third place in Best Bloody Mary, Best Place for a Business Lunch, and Best Place for a First Date. The Majestic really is a great restaurant that I am proud to be working for. We are holding on in Downtown and trying to keep the classic Kansas City steakhouse alive as tax payer subsidized corporate chains pop up all around us. As a result, some of the coolest people in Kansas City have become our most loyal guests. Thank you to all of them as well. If you want in incredible steak, unbelievable live jazz, and an authentic Kansas City experience, I don’t think you could do better than The Majestic.
The same paper eliminated their “Best Server” category this year. I think that was a lame decision. Last year, I was honored to win that award from the readers of the paper. This year, the critics decided to award me “Best Ambitious Waiter.” I am incredibly honored by this award. I want to thank Charles Ferruzza and Jonathan Bender for creating this award. I have taken a few swipes at Charles on this blog over the years, but I can also say that he is a tremendous person and an asset to the Kansas City restaurant community. He has become one of my biggest supporters and has never hesitated to offer me assistance when I have asked. Every city should be lucky enough to have someone like Charles Ferruzza keeping an eye on the restaurant scene.
I also wanted to take a moment to thank two of the biggest supporters of my book. Donald Pile and Ray Williams were the first two people to contact me for a copy of my book to review. Since reading it, they have been singing its praises during their travels around the country. They recently published an incredible review that is worth a look. They are professional travel writers, travel advisors, and incredibly discerning critics of service. I am incredibly grateful for their continued support and encouragement.
Speaking of support and encouragement, I also want to thank Chef Jasper Mirabile of the legendary Jasper’s restaurant. I recently appeared on Chef Jasper’s radio show with food writer, radio host, editor, and possibly Kansas City’s most published writer, Kimberly Winter Stern. You can listen to a podcast of the interview from October 1st and catch me starting at the 31:00 mark. Both Chef Jasper and Kim were so gracious to have me on the show. It was one of the most enjoyable interviews to date. I hope this success continues for me so I will have the opportunity to work with both of these class acts in the future. I definitely owe her a half-caff-skinny-latte-no-foam soon.
When it comes to class acts in the Kansas City restaurant world, you can’t leave out Brian Wilson. I have known Brian since he hired me at my previous job five years ago. He has been written about on this blog in the past as a role model for how a manager can set the tone for an entire restaurant. He is transitioning out of a daily manager role. This loss for one restaurant is going to be turned into a huge gain for the company lucky enough to have him go to work for them. When I was preparing the release of my book, I contacted Brian for a quote to put on the cover. After reading the book he agreed to lend his name to it. His quote is on the front cover because his reputation for integrity and professionalism serves as a tremendous asset in the local restaurant community.
The local restaurant community suffered a tremendous loss in the last week as well. I have been struggling with how to address it and whether I had the right to address it at all. The more I think about it, the less I find myself able to focus on much of anything else. Tomorrow, I will follow up this post with a few thoughts on a topic that we as an industry have been woefully negligent in ignoring. I hope it serves as a call to action for the local restaurant community and the industry as a whole. I want to hold off on that post until tomorrow, because today I want the focus to remain on the people who I am incredibly grateful for.