4

Waiters Say the Darndest Things

^
Keep Dallas Observer Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Dallas and help keep the future of Dallas Observer free.

You know what's understood in every language? A check presenter.

I'd wager there's not a diner from Dubuque to Dubai who's surprised by what he finds when he opens the leather-bound book that appears at the end of every meal. No competent restaurant-goer wastes time wondering if he's been given a souvenir postcard or a lottery ticket. He knows for certain he's being asked to pay up for whatever gustatory fun he just had. Them's the rules.

Still, most servers feel obliged to say something when the dining experience makes the awkward transition from hospitality to commerce. Although a simple "thank you" or "it's been my pleasure to serve you" would suffice, the most popular closing line by far is "I can take that whenever you're ready" -- even in restaurants where there isn't a cashier or take-out stand to confuse the situation.

But last night I heard what has to be among the strangest check delivery lines out there.

My mother was in town for her birthday, so we went to Fearing's (christened "the quintessential post-crash luxury restaurant" by arbiter of upscale Josh Ozersky.) When our server arrived with the check presenter, he murmured, "and now, a note from our chef." It wasn't a love letter.

I'm guessing the server was trying to make the point that he wasn't responsible for the restaurant's prices and hoping to avert any resentment that might help shrink his tip. But that barely sounds plausible to me, and -- as a dozen-year veteran of the front of the house -- I always take the server's side.

Big picture-wise, of course, a single verbal gaffe doesn't matter much. My mother loved her lamb chops and was charmed by a surprise slice of chocolate birthday cake. Still, the exchange got me thinking about the stock lines servers wrongly include in their repertoires.

Follow City of Ate on Twitter: @cityofate.

Keep the Dallas Observer Free... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Dallas with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.

 

Join the Observer community and help support independent local journalism in Dallas.

 

Join the Observer community and help support independent local journalism in Dallas.