|Dad gets his regular breakfast at the café.|
Photo: Pam Stephan
A Café Regular rates high with the staff. A couple of the wait staff will set up a table before we get there, so we always get our favorite spot. We like to sit under the skylight - this helps Dad read the morning newspaper. Our regular waitress, Jenny, sets out two coffee cups, two sets of silverware, and extra paper napkins. If she sees our car approaching, she will actually pour up the coffee before we come in the door! Now that's service! Jenny also keeps up with our family and knows the names of our dogs and what plants we have in the vegetable garden. We've swapped starter plants and tried each other's tomatoes.
A Café Regular rarely has to actually place an order. I've seen this happen at other tables, but at our table here's how it goes. We sit down to 2 DeCaff coffees, one with cream, one hot and black - that's Dad's cup. The waitress come over, smiles at Dad and says, "Want your regular?" and he smiles back, "I believe you've got my number!" Then she writes it down: 2 OM, Saus, Bisc. He has always has two eggs over medium, sausage, and a biscuit at this café, and they always get it just right. I'm the one that the girls eye eagerly, ready to write down some of my favorite meals. You can bring me breakfast tacos, french toast, biscuit with honey, or once - just for fun - breakfast quesadillas! The order arrives in a timely way, I say the blessing, and Dad always replies, "Amen, Dive In!"
A Café Regular gets to visit with the other Regulars and exchange greetings and locally-sourced wisdom. There are men that sit only at the counter, read the paper while eating, and speak only with the staff. But at other tables, there are dependable groups of men who always meet up for breakfast, gossip, politics, and to see and be seen. The members of these tables may vary, but there's always a core group that keeps the table lively. Family groups also stake out a favored spot, and we've learned their names, too. There are colorful characters, oddballs, the occasional lawyer and client pre-court coffee time, and local musicians in need of an early morning beer.
With such diversity to the clientele, the staff at our café has seen everything. I'm pretty sure that most of them have figured out that Dad has some memory issues and that I'm always the driver and always leave a good tip. But they treat each diner with the same respect. Dad will order 2 OM, Saus, Bisc for years, because that is what he can remember. He never looks at a menu, even if we dine elsewhere. It may seem boring, but when a guy can't remember what his previous meal was composed of, then repeating his favorite breakfast isn't too bad. It also makes him easy to please, and that works for me.