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February 19th, 2005

Where They Know Your Name

In these days of chain restaurant overpopulation and high employee turnover rates, there aren’t many “local joints” you can go to, see an employee you know, and have them recognize you. When it does happen, it’s really nice.

At one cafe nearby, one that I go two once every month or two (for me that’s “regular” since I rarely eat out), and as soon as I walk in, the woman behind the counter smiles and says, “Veggie panini [which isn’t even on the menu but they make for me anyway], no avocado?” At a Vietnamese restaurant just down the way from the cafe, there’s a waitress there that always smiles and says hello to me and amazed me when she remembered what I had ordered when I was there two months earlier. That amazes me.

Are there any neighborhood places where you’re recognized like Norm and Cliff were at Cheers? (My 20-year-old TV reference beats your six-year-old movie reference!)

Posted in Miscellaneous

FROM: Chris [E-Mail]
DATE: Saturday February 19, 2005 -- 9:06:53 am
The librarian at several local libraries knows my wife and kids rather well. We eat lunch at the Dumfries Cafe about once a week, I think I'm pretty close to regular status there.

FROM: dave
DATE: Saturday February 19, 2005 -- 9:07:23 am
I used to go to the Xando in Old Town Alexandria so much that the bartender would call in an order for a beer and pepperoni pizza as soon as he or she saw me.

FROM: jk
DATE: Saturday February 19, 2005 -- 10:08:24 am
One of the women behind the counter at the Greek stand at the local farmers' market knows I want avgholemono the moment she sees me, and at the Japanese restaurant nearby, one waitress knows I want my chicken without onions.

Before they headed south permanently (FL, they didn't die!), the local Austrian restaurant owners would hide the Sacher Torte until I got there if they saw my name on the reservation list. It was better than what you get in Europe, and I am so so sad that they are gone.

DATE: Saturday February 19, 2005 -- 1:56:37 pm
We go to a family restaurant and one of the waitresses knows that my dad and brother and me always get iced tea.

FROM: Monica
DATE: Saturday February 19, 2005 -- 2:27:00 pm
That's cool that people care to remember others still :-)
at one of the places Nick goes for lunch sort of often, the waitresses know to bring him 2 drinks at once, because he downs the first one so fast.
I'm only known at the ice cream place I sometimes work at, since I don't go out to lunch but once every few months.

FROM: Kate
DATE: Sunday February 20, 2005 -- 1:01:05 am
The 7-11 people know me, sadly enough.

FROM: Merle [E-Mail]
DATE: Monday February 21, 2005 -- 2:36:23 pm
I think it depends on where you go to eat. I would not expect to be recognized at a Subway even if I ate there twice a week... but there are a half a dozen or so restaurants where they know me.

Then again, I eat out for lunch every day, within a ten block radius of work. I do not eat at chains (even places with three or four branches, usually). I also prefer the less popular places: I get Japanese from Kyoto Express, a tiny five-seat hole in the wall where the woman not only knows me, but asks about my (ex-)coworkers who never seem to walk in with me. The popular Japanese places have lines out the door, worse food (in my opinion), and even if I went they probably would not know me.

Of course, having an unusual style of goatee adds to my recognizability a lot. ;-)

FROM: Joseph
DATE: Tuesday February 22, 2005 -- 10:11:45 am
I used to eat at a Vietnamese restaurant almost every night when I was a student. They had a giant bowl of Hu Tieu Ga (vietnamese chicken noodle soup) for about $2. I couldn't buy the ingredients and make it that cheaply, so in I happily went. They also had the most delicious spring rolls and other tasty items cheap cheap cheap. Also, the food was out and out the best in the city. It was unbelievable. We got to know the wait staff right away. Eventually, the owner would make us stuff special.

They moved to Florida and opened a restaurant. The Northeast was too cold for them.

When they recently returned, (apparently, they preferred cold winters to three hurricanes) we had a huge tearful hug and kisses reunion! We don't live in that city anymore, but we still drive forty-five minutes for the food, service, and to go where everybody knows our names (and pronounces them with a welcome Vietnamese accent).

FROM: aharris
DATE: Friday February 25, 2005 -- 4:14:46 pm
When I was in grad school I would often stop by a local cafe for lunch. But I would go there at like 7am and order lunch (to be eaten during the break between classes). Whenever I'd walk in (which wasn't even every day) they'd already start making my turkey sandwich.

Chris? Hold the phone, do you live in Dumfries, VA? My family moved there when I was in college and I've never forgiven my mom.

You know...they're thinking of combining Dumfries and Manassas. They're going to call it Dumbass.

FROM: Katie
DATE: Friday April 8, 2005 -- 2:19:50 pm
Chris, I am glad you enjoy the Dumfries Cafe. We take pride on trying to be homey since most of us are family members. (aka, granddaughter of Harold and Cathy) All of us who work there love the fact that everyone who comes in are almost family to us as well!!!!

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