Featuring locally owned restaurants is our specialty. We love focusing on the epicurean entrepreneurs — the owners and their families — who dig deeply into their daily existence to serve fresh food every day their way.
A slice of San Antonio entrepreneurial history can be found at Earl Abel’s Restaurant on the Austin Highway. We recently came across this video the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce produced because Earl Abel’s Restaurant has been a participating member since 1933! We could tell you wonderful things about the faithful staff and great food at Earl Abel’s, but the video says it all. Simply click on the picture below and enjoy!
Congratulations to Roger Arias and the great staff at Earl Abel’s!
Stories aren’t behind just tips but behind managers as well.
Judd Walker is a manager at The County Line’s I-10 location. He has been with The County Line for around 35 years. He says he can’t count the years anymore and just goes by decades. For nineteen of those years, Judd and his wife have been foster parents. They foster infants from birth to six months or occasionally a year, and they usually have two at a time. I can’t imagine having two infants constantly for nineteen years. When I mentioned this, Judd just replied, “It’s not too hard if you like it.”
Judd and his wife got into fostering when they wanted another child. Some neighbors down the street were fostering, and they decided to try it. I asked Judd if they ever took a break from fostering. He responded that they did once for a few months. They had decided to stop fostering, but after a little while, they realized how much they missed it.
There’s always something to do, Judd said, the same as anybody else. They just channel it differently, into their kids. Judd smiled and said he still gets to golf once every week or two.
Last week, all of my family was in town, so we made a trip to Jim’s. Our waitress, Michelle, was friendly and personable. She made us all feel welcome and cheerful after long days at work or driving.
Michelle has an amazing memory. She took all seven of our orders, including one relayed from my brother over the phone through my sister, but she didn’t write anything down. When my dad asked if she could remember everything, she recited back all of the dishes, including substitutions and got everything right. Michelle explained that she had been at work since 9am and could still tell us what people that morning had ordered!
I love getting to know wait staff when I go out. They are fun, interesting people and make the dining experience that much more enjoyable.
When we ate lunch at one of the participating 5DollarDining.com restaurants today, we had a chance to chat with our waiter for a few minutes. It was interesting to hear how he had moved from a larger city to live next door to his daughter and her six children. The daughter is very ill and he helps care for the kids.
When he moved to San Antonio to work in restaurants here, he realized that he’d have to take a substantial pay cut, but the family relationships were a higher priority.
That brief conversation served as a poignant reminder that, especially in these economic times, our tips for the wait staff need to be considerate. They usually work just as hard for the $10 or $20 table as they do for the $30 or $50 table, and there’s often a story on the other side of the smile on your waiter’s face.