Where Everyone Knows Your Name…

Went to my favorite local hangout last night — and for what it’s worth, it’s pretty much a 5 star restaurant frequented by many “A-list” and “local” celebrities.

I’ve been “hanging” there for over  10 years but it’d been a while since I’d stopped by and I have to say, I really missed being there.  It has a bar of course, but it’s all class.  Very elegant place to have dinner and quite expensive for most folk (uhmmm, very expensive for me too!).

But I used to go there early in the evening to watch the game and do my writing.  The owner is a HUGE Laker fan, and I’m…well, a Celtic fan and that’s kinda how we “met” for real!  But I could just sit at the bar for hours – watching out the window as my fellow neighbors passed on by in their cars or walking – a perfect little view for daydreaming, boy-shopping or just chillin’.

My secret little getaway.

But whenever there’s a game (basketball or baseball) we’d watch on this little tiny TV they just happen to have stuck inside a little portion of the wall.  The volume’s never up and, well, it’s just not that kind of place.  But the “regulars” come weekly, share a glass of Vueve or the latest expensive wine and watch quietly at the bar before heading off to their dinner…

Last night was perfect.  I loved walking in.  Without even trying you seem to make an entrance, that’s how they make you feel anyways!  The host came over and kissed me on both cheeks, hugged me and welcomed me back.  He motioned to the waiters and bartenders that I was “here” and then he asked me how I was doing.  Sincerely concerned that I’d hadn’t been around for a while.  I told him he looked fabulous – and he did!  He’d been working out or something – then the owner came over, also kissed me hello and got me seated at the bar immediately.  Coming over frequently to make sure we had everything we needed. The bartender automatically turned the channel on the TV. The Celtics were playing afterall. . .   very cool.

I grabbed my glass of champagne, and in walked a celebrity, also a regular, and I won’t mention his name since, well, there’s no real need to.  But there was the owner, hugging  and welcoming him back too.  The host shook his hand and they talked about his latest “TV-ism” for a moment.  And I thought to myself “…how cool is that?”  The “celebrity” looked on over and gave  a quick nod and silent “hello” my way – knowing I to, had come back “home” after being away for so long.  He looked up at the screen and laughed – he remembered my Celtic/Laker rival with the owner …again, very cool.

Eeeh, it sounds like just good customer service for a restaurant to do what it needs to do to get people to come back – and I’m not clueless to that.  The difference is this feels authentic and always has.  They’d be a fabulous restaurant with or without the brilliant “family-esque” customer service because it truly is one of the  crème de la crème of restaurants food-wise.  But there’s just something about walking into a place where everyone knows your name and makes you feel right at home.

Yeah, I really do love this town.