What I did this Summer or Things About Restaurants

At the end of the last school year, I went in for my semesterly writing minor advising appointment to see Ray (hi Ray!). When he asked me what my summer plans were, I told him that I was going to work somewhere in Ann Arbor, probably in food service. He asked me what I was going to do with my mind over the next couple of months. I kind of spluttered; I’m a college student with grand aspirations! Of course I would find something to do with my mind! Well Ray, you were right… after taking the LSAT, and becoming immersed in my jobs at Gratzi, an Italian restaurant on Main Street, and at Star Vintage, I took a vacation from mind-using. When not working, I did quite a bit of sleeping, watched lots of How I Met Your Mother, and ate many, many sandwiches.

The summer was not a total waste of my neurons however, as it gave me a wonderful opportunity to learn about restaurants. Specifically, fancy Italian restaurants. If I ever cope with the crippling self-doubt (among other things) that prevents me from writing the Great American Novel, I will probably find all of this information useful.

So for my Blog Post of October here are… the Top Ten Things You Didn’t Want to Know About The Restaurant I Work At Still Because Law School Applications Are Expensive.

10. The Waitstaff Can Hear You (and they’re talking about you). Yes, adorable high school couple wearing homecoming clothes and intensely discussing the implications of the concept of the Anti-Christ, the girl pouring you water can hear every word you say. Yes, couple negotiating their divorce over ravioli con pancetta, your rather loud conversation will be all we talk about for the next week and a half. I’m not saying to censor what you say when the waiter comes around. No, seriously, this is what makes our nights worthwhile, gossiping about customers, and tips.

9. The Waitstaff are Definitely All Dating Each Other. Along the same lines of “Oh my god, the service industry is composed of HUMANS,” next time you go to a restaurant, remember that about half of these people bringing you drinks are going to go home together. They all definitely hang out after work, and some of them are definitely hanging out after everyone hangs out after work. Restaurant workers are among the most touchy-feely people I have ever met, so it is really no wonder that people who touch each other on the arm and lower back all day for no apparent reason end up dating.

8. That Napkin You Are Putting On Your Face? We Use Those For Everything. Not that they don’t get washed. Because they really, really do. They get sent to an industrial laundry facility where they are sanitized within an inch of their napkin-y lives. But not until they are used as doorstops, and glass wipers, and covered with anti-bacterial solution to wipe down high chairs.

7. Your Stupid Long-Lasting, Beyonce-Approved Lipstick Can Withstand A High-Powered Glass Washer. So think about that before you put it on your face.

6. The Manager Posts Your Yelp Reviews in the Break Room. So yeah, we kind of have to read them. Maybe think about being a little bit nicer next time. Or at least don’t mention any names. We did not mean to spill water on you, it was an accident, and it is not our fault the napkins aren’t that absorbent. We were really sorry about it, actually.

5.  There is this Really Racist Song on the Soundtrack. We play the same 30ish songs on a loop to create atmosphere. Every so often, this one comes on called “Brave Indian Warrior” which is about the most uncomfortably racist thing I’ve ever heard, and no one can explain to me why it is on a playlist with all of that Frank Sinatra.

4. You Can Take Classes on Wine. You know your friend who for some reason knows which wines go with what type of food? They don’t just magically learn these things. There are actual, $500 classes a person can take to learn about different types of wine. I haven’t taken it because wine is objectively kind of boring.

3. People from Out of the Country Don’t Tip. Like at all. Even if they are a huge party, and they stay for hours, and the waitress is really nice to them. Apparently tipping isn’t a thing outside of America.

2. Everything is Actually Really Clean. I know you were all expecting this to be a list of gross things in a restaurant that is supposed to be pretty fancy. Unfortunately for anyone who likes to be grossed out, Gratzi is actually one of the cleaner places I’ve ever worked. To put that into perspective, I’ve worked at a McDonald’s and Mojo’s dining hall, so I suppose that is not saying much. But all in all, if you go to Gratzi, you can be fairly confident that everything is sterilized and checked over before you use it.

1. Please Don’t Be That Table. You know, the one that stays an hour past closing even though they’re the only people in the restaurant besides the staff, who are all standing around the bar area, watching the local news and waiting for you to leave. There are 24 hour places in town, and we just don’t happen to be one of them.




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