So it’s Sunday morning. And I am up early, while the beautiful Miss P is lounging away and occasionally stirring. It is hard to leave the comfort of this Ralph Lauren Sleigh Bed that seems to be an acre big and at least 4 feet off the deck. Eventually, I circle back and sit on the bed with my feet on the stool. A Stool? I need it to get up that high!
Miss P opens her peepers and does a quick survey of the situation and it’s at that moment we telepathically arrive at the same stop sign in Dreamville: it’s time for a nice brunch.
It’s a flurry of activity, a cyclone of tops, bottoms, shoes and hair products and Miss P is ready, so then I grab some jeans, a shirt and sneakers… and I am ready for the outside! We are down the stairs and into the Volvo in a flash since we realize it’s already 1:30 so we are fighting the clock and the traffic.
We are in the Volvo, careening out of Pittsboro and frantically thinking of where to go for a beautiful Sunday Brunch… at 1:45 Sunday afternoon.
We are driving into Carrboro and looking for a place that’s open, has a decent menu and can take care of us. We are striking out… some places are closed, some we’ll pass on from experience, we are not looking for perfect customer service and then Miss P sings out “Venable”!! that place between Weaver Street and the soon to be no more “The Station“.
Ok, destination strategized, Miss P puts her 5′ 2” lead foot to the pedal, then to the metal, and we’re off! But we’re kidding ourselves – they close at 2pm and without the flux-capacitor, or Scotty and the Transporter, we’ll never make it. So I call ’em up, and the girl who answers says they are closing in a few minutes.
So I said “That’s fine, can we order now? Yes, right now on the phone before the kitchen closes… ?” Silence ensues: and, I thought to myself, “Because then, when we get there, we should have our order, n’cest pas?”
This confused the girl for a moment, not the French, but an off the reservation-type request. To her credit, she did the right thing and got her manager on the phone. The Manager (who was smart as a whip an’ brighter than a new penny) took the phone and, without skipping a beat, took our order! Could this be the perfect customer service alternate universe?
And it was detailed, too, only because we’d been there before so we sort of knew what they had. Miss P goes for the Shrimp & Grits, I am partial to their Eggs Benny.
Now we are in their parking lot, screeching tires and all…
In one fluid sequence Miss P pulls into the only open space in a full-up parking lot, we bail out and head for the stairs, bound up to the Venable front door, and we spill into the restaurant.
If you’ve ever been there, you know that from the front door you can look down the food way parallel to the bar and peer right into the exposed kitchen. Chef stuff is going on, and things are being closed down, washed, put away…
The Hostess comes over and before we could say who we were and that we had called earlier…we are whisked into the first booth. In the blink of an eye the table is set before us, water is brought forward by unseen hands… and within seconds the delicious Brunch we had envisioned over the phone is set before us by Alyssa, who disappears down the food way and then reappears from around the corner with hot coffee in a press, hot sauce, additional toast, and a Coca-Cola with ice for Miss P.
Our beautiful breakfast is suddenly in front of us, steaming and making those odd hot food sounds.
Miss P is having Shrimp & Grits, with an xtra bowl of grits, steaming, on the side. I am digging into a hot, perfectly presented Eggs Benedict, with beautiful potatoes, greens and a sliver of bacon… is it always Hollandaise that goes on top?
What I actually had was two eggs in minced herbs & cream served with applewood-smoked bacon, crostini & country potatoes… yummy yummy!
And Miss P had her Shrimp and Grits which she loves from this Kitchen, and which she has sent back more that Mrs. Maisel’s dress at a fitting in many other establishments.
That’s just the potatoes, Dear Reader… now here comes the gravy: This experience was remarkable on so many different levels and in so many ways.
Most restaurants would have locked the door as we were coming up the stairs, no matter what. Am I right? And the fact that this customer-facing, serviced-focused super manager had her eye on the ball re: revenue acquisition, made all the difference. Because, rather than turn us away on the phone, she took the order and followed through.
Not only that, we had a food delivery technician in Miss Alyssa who had a 1,000 WATT smile, and no request was too much; she ran around for us, and while the Hostess couldn’t wait to get out of there, and didn’t seem to care about the customers or us, this Manager and her Minion, were completely focused on doing us right and in doing so delivered perfect customer service.
Not only that, we had a food delivery technician in Miss Alyssa who had a 1,000 WATT smile, and no request was too much; she ran around for us, and while the Hostess couldn’t wait to get out of there, this Manager and her Minion were completely focused on doing us right.
We had a delightful afternoon at Venable Bistro, we had the best services and the best Brunch imaginable.
What made it simply fabulous was the incredible customer service from a Manager who must have been worn out from a long morning of Brunch Service, and a delightful Minion – Miss Alyssa – who was at the end of her shift, too, and must have been run ragged by the time we showed up.
Miss P and I wrote this to add our voices to the many out there who find small, unhearlded acts of exceptional customer service in unexpected places in the cyclone of everyday life.
Thank you Alyssa, Thank you, too, to your exceptional Manager who made the right customer service choices… flawlessly!
“If there’s a place for musical perfection, it’s wherever you’ll find Eric Sommer – A blistering acoustic style plus a variety of slide and open tuning formats will knock you for a loop…” wrote Studdie Burns, New Melody Maker/UK in 2013. “How one guy can do this so well is remarkable, but if you look a little deeper there’s a batch of road miles around this lad… and it all makes sense.”
Eric started his musical career in the Boston area under the eye of legendary promoter Don Law and was onstage at The Paradise Theatre in Boston for a record 40 appearances. He has been a regular player on many national and international tours and showcases, and worked in Europe for two years with Nick Lowe and acts Bram Tchaikovsky and Wreckless Eric; during this period Eric worked on Danish, German and British rock stages, returned to Boston and formed The Atomics
As a founding member of Boston’s legendary pop/new wave cult trio “The Atomics”, who toured non-stop with Mission of Burma, Gang of Four and The Dead Kennedy’s and were on the leading edge of several musical transformations, Eric never lost sight of his acoustic roots, returning to his heroes and mentors often: David Bromberg, Steve Howe(YES), Duane Allman (Allman Bros.), Bert Jansch, Davy Graham, Robert Johnson. Mr. Sommer’s current project with power trio “The Solar Flares” shake up Chet Atkins and David Bromberg’s influences with those of Randy Travis and British Rocker Elvis Costello – a remarkable mix.
And to keep track of it all, Eric started keeping notes, which evolved from napkin scribbles to paper and pen efforts, writing stories, making poetry and capturing the roads and bridges as they went by, plus people, places and… more people which become his notes, then become characters for songs, stories, and prose.
Eric currently has four volumes of verse, 5 studio albums, a LIVE in AUSTIN DVD as well as an electronica project titled “The Smallest Particle” and more on the way… this blog is an attempt to keep track of it all…
You can reach Eric directly at ericATericsommer.com and see more of his projects here on this website. Red Chairs, Black Pancake and Blue Turtle are all available here, as well as all current releases. Please share and comment below.
Singer/songwriter Eric Sommer is an unbelievable intersection of improbable influences and experiences channeled into an amazingly diverse catalog and a résumé that reads more like a musical adventure novel than a series of career bullet points.