Restaurants and Theology on Tap! (But mostly restaurants)

February 8, 2012 § 4 Comments

Just two quick items on my blog agenda today:

Item 1: I am working at The Cafe tonight.  Longtime readers of the blog and personal acquaintances will be familiar with this restaurant and its place in my life.  I worked there for about 5 years as a part-time job (usually 3 nights a week), in addition to whatever full-time job I held at the time.  This past summer, I finally gave it up and have been only filling in ever since.  They call me (infrequently) when they’re stuck and can’t get anyone else.  Tonight is one of those nights. 

Working at the restaurant has always held a strange spot in my heart.  I have tried many times to pin down exactly what the feeling is.  I’ve never succeeded, I think because the feeling varies so much from each experience there.  Most of the time I don’t miss it.  But then sometimes… I do.  It sounds crazy, but there are nights when I want to be on my feet, swinging around the corner of the bar and into the kitchen, stacking tickets, flipping tables, perfecting dessert plates with a splash of whipped cream and chocolate sauce.  There are times when I miss juggling dishes and poking fun at customers with the other workers.  For every rude diner and poor tipper and drunk old man, there’s a funny first date couple and a table full of cute guys and an eating by themself out-of-towner who tips me extra just because I chatted.  I miss helping the parents who’d come in with babies, making them feel welcome and letting them know I like babies and don’t care how many other people think children have no place in fine-dining.  I don’t miss the dead nights, the slow nights, the poor nights.  I don’t miss the foot aches and the back pains and the growling stomach because I’ve been so busy serving other people’s hot, delicious food I haven’t had time to eat in five hours.  I’m a social person, I miss seeing new faces and interacting with people.  Restaurants aren’t for people who hate people, but restaurants can make anyone hate people.  You have to find your spot.  You have to understand this:  For every night you’re overbooked and understaffed and overworked, there eventually comes the night when the momentum is on your side.  The restaurant hits that spot where you’re moving, moving fast, but it’s a good fast.  It’s the night when all your favorite people are working with you and the chefs are cheerful, and the bartender is slinging drinks and the tables are tipping.  Your feet and hands are busy and you’re smiling because you’ve got it under control.  People are happy.  People are eating good food and drinking good wine.  I wish every night could be like that.  If it were, I might never have left the restaurant world.  

Item 2: Theology on Tap has started again in Wilkes-Barre!  I am remiss for not mentioning this sooner.  The first session was last night and, although I did not attend, I heard that it was awesome.  The poster for this month’s program is on the side.  If you don’t know what Theology on Tap is, that’s okay!  Because I already co-wrote a letter explaining what it is!  Here is that letter, which I am sure Shannon will not mind that I reposted:

Dear Friends in Youth and Young Adult Ministry,

We are proud to announce that Theology on Tap will be held once again in Wilkes-Barre, PA!  We ask for your support and prayers as we begin this new undertaking in Young Adult Ministry.  Mark your calendars for every Tuesday in [February] starting at 7:00pm! The sessions will be held at Rodano’s on Public Square; there is a $5 cover charge and food will be served.

Theology on Tap is a series for young adults in their 20s and 30s, designed to give them a comfortable and fun environment to share their questions and comments on Catholic teaching.  Each week will feature a different speaker and topic, geared towards current issues and lifestyle.  We ask you to encourage this program in your parish or school community.  Young adults are searching; they want to find meaning in life, answers that go beyond the instant gratification culture.  Catholic teaching offers these answers, rich in both reason and spirituality.  Society may dismiss those who seek to ‘live the truth in love’ (Ephesians 4:15) but we try to recognize their desire for what it is: a need for a life focused on something greater than one’s self.  Theology on Tap is open to all, whether practicing Catholic or not.   Those who come can discuss their questions, concerns, and ideas, while enjoying some pizza and beer!  The word catholic itself means universal.  With this program, we want to continue making the Church universal, reaching out to people wherever they are.  We know that faith should not be confined to a pew for an hour on Sunday morning, that it should change our lives with its power.  What better place than a bar to show young adults that their faith can be practiced no matter the surroundings? 

Please spread the word about Theology on Tap, whether through your bulletin, email, Facebook, or any means!  If you are unable to attend, or simply wish to show your support for Theology on Tap, feel free to make a donation to help with our costs.  All donors will be remembered with grateful appreciation in our prayers!  With your help, we can bring the solid foundation of Christ out into the public sphere!


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§ 4 Responses to Restaurants and Theology on Tap! (But mostly restaurants)

  • Walt says:

    I think your restaurant disillusionment began when I pointed out that no restaurant which regards itself as a place of “fine dining” should be serving institutional cellophane-wrapped crackers with their soup at supper time. It was then that you saw the light.

    Biz guru Tom Peters (not to be confused with the Catholic blogger of the same name) charges tens of thousands of dollars for his advice to businesses. Below are two sets of his maxims (shamelessly pilfered). If The Café would seek to implement these, valued employees like you would never become disillusioned:

    1 — We are dedicated to and measure our success to a significant degree by our unwavering commitment to the extreme personal growth of every one of our employees.

    2 — We will aim to make our customer engagements adventures beyond the comfort zone, or adventures in growth to use a less intimidating phrase—we will aim to add value in novel ways that surprise and stretch our customers and ourselves.

    3 — We will exude integrity, individually and collectively.

    4 — We will bring to bear overwhelming and instant and collective force to redress any customer problem, real or imagined.

    5 — We will be civil in all our dealings with one another.

    6 — We will never, in any way, compromise on the quality of our products or services—regardless of difficulties in our marketplace and economy.

    7 — We wholeheartedly acknowledge that in the short term (as well, obviously, as the long term) we must be profitable and exhibit stellar financial performance that is consistent with the audacious efforts to serve our people and our clients as described above.

    8 — We shall unfailingly aim for EXCELLENCE in all we do.

    (A) Focus on EXECUTION !! (ensure that the fundamentals are at max effectiveness)

    (B) LISTEN! LISTEN! LISTEN! (especially to employees, but also to customers) (The answers are already out there, typically among the most exercised and disenchanted.)

    (C) COMMUNICATE! COMMUNICATE! COMMUNICATE! (Employees: Keep the bosses informed of everything, especially hiccups!) (Bosses: Overcommunicate with your employees)

    (D) Work proactively in every “little” which way, each and every day to “live” and “ooze” INTEGRITY! (Integrity begets trust which begets a good place to work which begets performance.)

    (E) Remove ASAP the career “career corporate politicians.” (and the skaters, those simply trying to do just enough to not get fired)

    (F) Value PEOPLE (recruiting, training, coaching, seeking input, providing constant feedback on their performance)

  • shortside40 says:

    It was definitely the Saltines.
    Thanks for the lists, I’ll print them out and post them all around the restaurant. This is my favorite: “5 — We will be civil in all our dealings with one another.” LOLOLOLOLOL

  • Rena Nichole says:

    I miss waiting tables too 😀 When you’re good at it, and you do it for a long time, it kind of gets in your blood.

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