Has It Really Been Six Years?

Posted on Thursday 19 January 2012

On January 21, 2006, I posted my first entry as Restaurant Gal. I called it “First Course,” and all subsequent posts that are more about me than about the industry are filed under that heading in my archives. I had forgotten that I had titled my first post as such until I decided to undertake an introspective look at the winding path that both I and this blog have taken since 2006.

If anyone had told me then where and who I would be now, I’d have told them they’d written me quite the vivid dream about which I would laugh when I woke up. Thing is, I never did–wake up, that is. Thus, here I am, and here is RG, and here are you whomever of you remains out there as my beloved readers. If, by some quirk, there are those of you who have been with me since the beginning, I would love to heard from you in the comments. God love you.

I took time these past few weeks to look back at the beginning of a writing project I never thought would last a month, much less years. I was at once struck by my energy to write so often as I was by how differently I might write many of those stories today. Over the next few weeks, I’ll revisit each year of RG before offering a look forward. Enjoy this post’s 2006 retrospective.

2006: First Year’s Firsts

Without knowing it, I talked myself into my first adult hospitality job in decades in D.C. with one simple answer to a simple question asked by the GM who was interviewing me:

“What do you know about Cy’s?” he asked.

I knew I was supposed to answer that their outlets offered great food for a great value. I also knew I was supposed to remark on the beauty of the various locations, about the incredibly on-point combination of casual “Cheers” saloon ambiance that meshed “just so” with with a certain Georgetown fine-dining decor that those folks hauled out of their attic and barn collections to create a look no one will ever replicate. If you know this highly successful group, you know exactly what I am talking about.

Instead, an answer came to me out of a clueless nowhere, something I had heard from a teenager I’d been tutoring who was applying for a job as a Cy’s host.

“Well,” I said, “I know that if you are a kid applying to Cornell University’s hospitality program and you have the grades, and you say you worked at Cy’s, you are pretty much in. Your training program is legendary.”

With that, a man who’d previously paid no attention to me whatsoever turned around and stared at me. I stared back. I would later find out he was the regional manager.

“I went to Cornell,” he said, almost glaring, but seeming more surprised than anything else.

“I’d appreciate the opportunity to take advantage of your training,” I replied, wondering how dumb luck had found its way into this interview.

With that, I was hired.

I was also in over my head, which I am sure all the managers knew when they hired me. But I finally managed to “get it” as a maitre d’, and I never looked back at the office life from which I’d merrily escaped.

Favorite 2006 post: Where You Can Get Anything You Want (Check out the comments, too, because I heard from a very special someone.)

Runner-up 2006: Ladies Who Lunch (For the record, I almost got fired from my fine-dining job for writing this. Not long after, I simply got got fired/given a chance to resign for writing RG, period.)

Other fun 2006 posts: Doing the Drunken Swirl, Does This Happen Often?, The Proper Topper

My next post will remember 2007–the year of life changes, endings and beginnings. For now, enjoy readings from when this blog first took shape.

20 Comments for 'Has It Really Been Six Years?'

  1.  
    January 20, 2012 | 12:21 am
     

    congratulations, sugar! what a treat reading the old posts and esp. the comments! ๐Ÿ˜‰ xoxoxo

  2.  
    Joe
    January 20, 2012 | 8:34 am
     

    Wow! I’m pretty sure I’ve been with you from early on in the first year. What an amazing journey you have had and shared with us. Please know that you have made me laugh and many times brought me to tears. You have moved me and made many days much more enjoyable.

    You have my thanks!

    Joe

  3.  
    Friend, S
    January 20, 2012 | 9:12 am
     

    I go back to the early days, but not the beginning. I am hoping to see a comment from someone who found you those first few months.

    I started reading a day or so after Waiter linked you. What I remember quite vividly was falling in love with the prose and rushing to read all your earlier posts one after the other.

    It has been quite a journey my friend. My very best wishes and thoughts for whatever comes next — for each of us.

  4.  
    Restaurant Gal
    January 20, 2012 | 9:55 am
     

    Savannah–Thank you for being one of my most cheerful, long-time readers. One of these days we need to meet in person!

    Joe–How great that you have hung in there with me all these years, and thank you for the compliments about my writing.

    Friend, S–I have a feeling you may be one of the first RG readers. No one knew the site existed before Waiter Rant linked to RG, and I believe he linked to me in March or April 2006. I will never forget the morning several comments popped up in my email. I accused Mr. RG of writing/sending them to encourage me to keep writing despite a readership of zero at that point. He did some internet sleuthing and discovered the link to Waiter. What an incredible compliment it was to be recognized by such a wonderful and popular writer. And yes, the voyage has been interesting, hasn’t it? Thanks for being a great friend throughout these past six years.

  5.  
    January 20, 2012 | 1:36 pm
     

    I can’t remember exactly when I started reading – it was in 2006, and it wasn’t via waiter rant, because I only heard of that blog via yours. I know it was early enough for me to go back and read all the posts you’d done to that point.

    However, if you’re wanting memories, one of our shared ones is you were the first person to ever ask me to guest post, which I did in March 2007 ๐Ÿ™‚

  6.  
    Friend, S
    January 20, 2012 | 2:17 pm
     

    You had told me before that you didn’t believe the first comments or increased traffic were legitimate. Ah, those were the days.

  7.  
    Restaurant Gal
    January 20, 2012 | 3:24 pm
     

    Kim–I loved your guest post! And I love how loyal a reader and friend afar you have become. I swear I am getting to Scotland someday soon.

    Friend, S–Yep, those were interesting days to say the least.

  8.  
    m
    January 20, 2012 | 9:05 pm
     

    Oh wow. I guess I’ve been here since the beginning. And to think that Alice Brock, THE Alice Brock, commented on the same blog post that I also commented on – my head is spinning.

    Keep up the writing. What a journey it has been, and with many more stories to come!

  9.  
    m
    January 20, 2012 | 9:07 pm
     

    p.s. I found you via waiterrant. Shoulda added that!

  10.  
    Restaurant Gal
    January 21, 2012 | 1:04 am
     

    m–Always glad to hear from you. And yes, imagine my shock and delight when Alice commented on that post. I think most of you who are my early readers likely found me via Waiter. I thank him every year for putting me on the blogger map way back when.

  11.  
    January 21, 2012 | 12:18 pm
     

    Wow, has it really been that long? It seems like yesterday that I stumbled upon your blog. I think I just Googled “Restaurant Blogs” to see who else was out there. What a Universe! I used to love reading while you were learning and growing on the job. Now I guess I’ll have to take a trip down memory lane and read your favorites again. Ahhhh, memories.

  12.  
    DaChickenLady
    January 22, 2012 | 3:03 am
     

    I found you through Waiter Rant and have been reading for only about 3-4 years. I love your blog and am very glad it’s still active. =D

  13.  
    Restaurant Gal
    January 22, 2012 | 9:26 am
     

    Ex-Restaurant Manager–You’ve been such a fun blog friend. I smile every time I pass through the SoFla town where you used to work, and I remember all the dire warnings and misgivings you had about my moving to this neck of the palm trees. You were 100 percent right about the crazy characters down here, but it’s somehow turning out okay. Enjoy the memories for now, and I’ll have more stories to come soon.

    DaChickenLady–I love the thought of “only 3-4 years”–that’s a long time to stick with a blog! But check out some of the first year’s writing. It’s interesting to have the perspective of knowing how the blog has evolved since then. Thanks, and hope to put more stories up more frequently in this 7th year of writing.

  14.  
    January 22, 2012 | 8:36 pm
     

    I have been reading since then. I don’t believe I commented much, if at all. I found you through the LJ WaitingTables community – either you posted or someone linked to you. I will always, always read. You are incredible.

  15.  
    January 22, 2012 | 11:32 pm
     

    I have been a faithful reader from almost the beginning (I think). I am proud to have been a subject of one of your blog posts and been lucky enough to have you visit and comment on my own blog.

    I started my blog in 2007(?) and have stalled along the way. But your story has never been dull and I am happy to have been a part of it, virtually. Inasmuch as one can develop friendships here in the cloud, I would like to think that we are friends.

    Congratulations on the milestone and for letting us all have a glimpse into the world of RG!

  16.  
    Restaurant Gal
    January 23, 2012 | 1:26 am
     

    Clare–Don’t think I have ever heard from you. Pretty sure I don’t know the link. But how nice that you’ve hung in there. Thank you.

    Brave Astronaut–You are the best. I always looked forward to your comments and knowing you were “out there.” Glad to know you still are. And yes, friends in the clouds are very much so.

  17.  
    January 23, 2012 | 1:06 pm
     

    Glad you are still here

  18.  
    Shannon
    January 24, 2012 | 12:31 pm
     

    Can’t believe its been 6 years! I also found you through WaiterRant, and have followed you ever since. I enjoy your posts, have enjoyed your life and writing so much although sometimes I want to shake/hug/drink with/laugh with/cry with you as you go through your chapters, stages and happenings. Your blog often is like a novel that I must put down to tend to other things and I need to remember that its your LIFE. You don’t know the end, but getting there through all the twist and turns, ups and downs has kept us readers all involved and truly caring what the next chapter might be.
    Keep writing, and keep your chin up!
    Shannon

  19.  
    Restaurant Gal
    January 24, 2012 | 4:02 pm
     

    JoeinVegas–Thanks Joe.

    Shannon–What an extraordinarily nice comment. Glad you’re still reading. I plan to keep writing, my chin is very much up, and the future will tell its story as it unfolds. Thank you.

  20.  
    Christine in LA
    February 5, 2012 | 2:18 pm
     

    Hi Gal

    I’ve been with you off and on since 07. I too found you via WaiterRant. So glad you are still writing. I love your writing and how heartfelt it is. Thanks for continuing to share the good and the bad. Also, I often think of you whenever I see KU playing like I did last night while sitting in a bar in Downtown LA. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Warm thoughts and gratitude from la la land.

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