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Server Speak: What’s Your Most Memorable Valentine’s Serving Experience?

Charlie Johnson
FOH manager
6 years
Sweet Chow, Minneapolis

I know it’s always such a flurry leading up to it—there’s
a bunch of last-minute reservations. People are desperate
to get a seat. Personally, my wife is a chef so either one
of us or both are always working. Then when we come
home we’re just exhausted so that’s our Valentine’s Day.
It hasn’t been romantic for a very long time. It seems like
holidays are losing their luster. It is an opportunity to market
the crap out of these events and jack up prices, you know.
Personally I think the holiday is when all the amateurs come
out. Just take your lady out another day. Or make every day

Ryan Schafer
13 years
Grand Catch, Saint Paul

I’ve had a couple argue the whole time pretty recently.
In the opposite, I’ve had a reservation where the gentleman
came in three hours before the reservation and had candy
and flowers for the table and he wanted to make sure the
set up was very romantic. And the whole time during their
date there was just a very nice glow around them.  

Jake Eisenbeis 
14 years
Augustine’s Bar and Bakery
Saint Paul

I’ve been lucky to not work on Valentine’s Day, but I
have worked ‘date nights’ in the past. I think there can
be some pressure because people want everything to
be perfect. I’ve also served people who have been in
the midst of breakups. For some reason people think
it’s safe to break up in a restaurant.

Sarah Russell
Bartender/Food Runner
3 years
Esker Grove, Minneapolis

I think Valentine’s Day is garbage. Any day that puts
pressure on people to spend money to show their love
is a waste. You should be showing your appreciation
to your loved ones every day. I will say one of the places
I worked at I used to always find it very entertaining to
watch the single men and single ladies cruising for someone
to meet. There was a guy who would come in to sell roses
and he always made a killing. So good for him!

Ross Lambrecht 
7 years
Borough/Parlour, Minneapolis

In my experience there’s a lot of two tops. People who
aren’t on dates usually avoid going out. More wine, more
desserts; generally it is more of a couple-y evening. This
wasn’t Valentine’s Day but one of the most romantic couples
I remember serving was about a year-and-a-half ago. They
had their first date here and had returned on an anniversary.
We had closed down the restaurant and this couple was
sitting around for a while and finally the guy slipped to us
that he was about to propose to his girlfriend. When she
returned from the bathroom to the table, the remaining staff
could overhear them talking, her reaction and their laughing. We all lined up and applauded, popped some champagne. It was really sweet. 


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