Saturday, May 14, 2011

It's more than a place to eat

I have been the General Manager at Tex & Shirley's for twenty years. Before that I managed corporate restaurants, franchised restaurants, and a couple of independent restaurants. T&S is unlike anywhere that I have worked before. T&S is an institution in Greensboro. It is not however, the institution where many believe I should be. That may only be half a joke!

Being entrusted with an institution is a tough job. Our customers have standards that they expect us to meet everyday. We go to work everyday with that as our goal.

Why after almost six years of blogging am I finally writing about Tex & Shirley's? Excellent question, I am considering answering it. Two incidents this week caused me to be pause and take a look at what I like about T&S.

Everyday of the week has its own set of regular customers, in particular at breakfast. I am at the restaurant almost every day. But I open the restaurant almost every Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. The Sunday group is obviously pretty large. While I know many of our Sunday customers, most of my time on Sunday is spent in the kitchen. Most of the Sunday customers with whom I interact are there early. Monday and Tuesday customers are a different story. I usually have the time to talk with many of those folks. On Wednesday and Thursday nights, I work the evening shift and close the restaurant. While we don't have as many regulars in the evening as we do at breakfast, we still have a pretty good group.

The daily regulars are like an extended family. There's a different family for each day. It is interesting to watch because most of these people know each other only through T&S. It works like a real family does, only sometimes better. If someone is out sick or on vacation, everyone wants to know about it. You're a regular and out sick? Somebody is passing a card for you around for people to sign. In the hospital, someone is coming to see you. One customer compares T&S to a neighborhood pub, but I guess that's without the beer.

My favorite morning group is the Tuesday morning group. Among others who come in early on Tuesday are Craig & Mary, Charlie, the Mikes, Oatmeal man, the Queen, Frank, Joel, funeral director Danny, the toy store lady, and the College Park Guys(Frank, Dan, Denver and anyone brave enough to meet them). This Tuesday was a little strange. The Queen had told me on Monday that she would not be in on Tuesday. I appreciate the notice, but I'm not sure which of us has the other trained. On Tuesday morning, my day fell apart. Not only was the Queen missing, but at least three or four others were not to be found. Until Tuesday, I did not realize how much of a routine I had in the morning. One customer, who falls into the semi-regular category, asked where everyone was. I shrugged my shoulders and responded "#**#, I don't know." I was a little out of sorts all day. My day changed a little for the better when Craig and Mary finally showed up at lunch. I'm beginning to wonder if I need to get into some kind of 12 step program for this addiction!!

Wednesday night, Elaine and her husband Dick were in for dinner. Elaine actually reads this blog, so she may not be as smart as I think she is. Anyway, I went to talk to them and told her my story about the naked man and the dog. I'll tell that story here some time in the future. Elaine was laughing so hard I was afraid that she might fall out of the booth. She told me that she had needed a laugh that night, but had not expected to get it at T&S. Hey Elaine! What are friends for?? Do you think that Wednesday night is just for cheap pancakes?

So what's my point with all of this? Tex & Shirley's is where you can find friends, extended families, good conversation and some bad jokes.(See Craig) We are more than just a place to eat.


At 5:09 PM, Blogger Brad said...

Sounds like your very own version of Cheers.

At 4:57 PM, Anonymous The Andrews said...

We have "known" T&S for over 35 years. Our daughter grew up going to T&S. I can tell you, there's seldom been a dull moment!


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