In the 16 days, since Susie and I drove over the 9th Street Bridge and left Ocean City on Friday, February 9th, we have eaten just about every day in at least one restaurant. This is a huge change for us, as we are folks who usually eat out maybe once or twice a week, at home. We’ve eaten in restaurants ranging from our first night in a Cracker Barrel in Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina, to an Italian Restaurant in Indian Rocks Beach, Florida, to Susie’s self described, “Best Meal Ever” at One Duval at the Pier House in Key West, Florida.

Today, in fact, we had lunch at a recently reopened restaurant along the Indian River, that had been one of Jeanne and Walt’s favorites. They told us tales, of many wonderful evenings when they’d sit at the bar at Captain Butchers, have a couple of drinks on the side of the Indian River, and then enjoy a delightful light supper at the bar. They said that suddenly, without any warning, a couple of years ago, it just closed. Jeanne has been chasing their Onion Rings since then, and yesterday when we were driving back from the airboats, we drove by and they were pleasantly surprised to find that the restaurant was open again! This morning, Walt suggested that if we were willing to be co-guinea pigs, we should all go for lunch! Sounded like a good idea to us, so off we went!

We sat outside in the sun, on the patio, along the river, on a beautiful Saturday……and our judgement? Well, I’d describe it as “a work in progress”, with a staff that was more “earning while learning” than seasoned professionals. First off, no Onion Rings for Jeanne, and no Shrimp Cocktail for Walt. Our waitress was kind of unsure of herself and the menu, the bar wasn’t fully stocked, and they were rather unsure about how to make the drinks from their own specialty drink menu. The food however, was very good, and they seemed more than willing to take suggestions, which we all thought was a good thing. We will wait to hear future opinions from Jeanne and Walt, as time goes on, and be pulling for their success!

This brings up something that we’ve noticed in virtually every restaurant we’ve visited, that people working in restaurants hustle! . From the waiter we had at Villa Gallace in Indian River, who was a sous chef in addition to being our waiter, to our new friend bartender Lindsey at Jimmy Guana’s, who one night when we were there, bartended as well as waited tables because they were short staffed, to the single lady at the Yee Haw Junction restaurant yesterday, who ran the whole restaurant, waiting tables, bartending, and playing cashier, most who work in restaurants, work their asses off. Covering 4 or 5 tables, bringing drinks to one table, bread to another, meals to a third, and tempting a forth table with desert selections, is all part of a normal day for them!

With 2 exceptions, we have had excellent service all across our trip….at cheap fish houses, at 5 star dining locations, at Tiki Bars along the Intracoastal Waterway, and everywhere in between. The two waiters we had that were not up to snuff, both had the same issue…they couldn’t multi task! It seems to us that being able to multi task if you work in the restaurant is almost as big a requirement as being able to breathe!

Susie and I both like Service People. We respect what they do, how hard they work, and wonder how they have the patience to deal with some of the yahoo paying customers. When you dine with a good server, you know it, and you appreciate all they bring to your enjoyment! Bravo to all those that we have had the pleasure to dine with these past two plus weeks. Thank you for enhancing our experience, for your insight on menu selections, and for your friendship! You have made even great meals a little bit better, and we hope you know how much we appreciated that!

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