Archive for September, 2013

Good Job, Elaine

Posted: September 15, 2013 in Best Places to eat in Spokane Valley

When it comes to a waitress job, not all restaurants are created equal. That is why Elaine, with my gentle and good guidance, went about her recent mission to secure a part-time position at a local eatery with diligence and deliberation. Having waitressed off and on all of her adult life, and having run her own place for four years, Elaine has been on both sides of the table as well as stood over both ends. She has had it very good most of the time but also has had it rough enough to know there are a lot of variables involved and this time she wanted to make sure all the variables were aligned just right.
The perfect place had to be in the Valley. Her last waitress job was at Ferraro’s on north Divison. Pat Ferraro had asked her to help him open the bar in his new restaurant. It was the third time she set up a new bar and it was suppose to be temporary until it lasted two years. The only variable she hated about the job was the location, or rather the drive it took to arrive at that location. The new job had to be easier on her 72′ Mach One that she loves driving everywhere except rush-hour freeways.
The perfect place could not be a chain. One of her first jobs was at the old Sea Galley across from the old University City. It was owned by a big corporation and she loved her job. The problem with the Red Robins and Black Anguses in the Valley today is that they are all run by managers. Most of the managers are young or at least younger than Elaine. They are also less experienced and often intimidated when they see the word owner on Elaine’s work history. It is kind of hard to know that for sure but that is what I concluded after watching her get passed by when she tried to get a job shortly after we closed our place seven years ago.
Another variable the perfect new job had to have was a working owner. Even if the chain managers are not insecure and immature, they are still managers. It is not that we look down on managers, rather it is more that we look up to owners. There is a big difference between running someone else’s place and running your own place. Elaine is the type that gives everything when she’s working and she loves working for an owner that is doing the same.
The new place she was looking for also had to be established with a good reputation. More than most other lines of work, a waitress’s take home pay is directly tied to the success of their employer. While the minimum wage is no longer anything to sneeze at these days, for the waitstaff it is all about the tips. Personally, I think somebody pulled a fast one when the standard tip went from ten to twenty percent and while I haven’t fallen for it, I heartily appreciate all of Elaine’s customers that have.
Along those lines, the perfect spot had to have class. Her spouse not withstanding, Elaine loves classy things. A wait staff is a part of every restaurant’s atmosphere and setting. At the same time a restaurant’s atmosphere and setting is the wait staff’s working environment. All things being equal, why shouldn’t Elaine be surrounded by good taste on her job? If nothing else, it takes a little pressure off me.
Given that all these variables had to be in line, there were not a lot of job opportunities. Only Ambrosia Bistro and Wine Bar at the Argonne Village had everything she wanted except an opening. The fact that they have a very slow turnover is a bad thing only when you are trying to get a job there. She dropped off a resume anyway. During one of her return trips, she told Scott Cook, the owner that he had to hire her sooner or later because she was not going to work any place else. Eventually her persistence fulfilled her prophecy and Scott and his wife, Kara hired her recently.
Elaine soon found that her dream job is even better than she dreamt it would be when she discovered how good they are at running the place and how hard they work at it. The Ambrosia wait staff, which includes their teen-age son, loves working there.
It is the kind of place that when I tell people she got a job there, I always get positive responses. Ambrosia has a great reputation and is loved by everyone who has ever dined or served the diners there. As for me, I have also loved everything I have ever eaten there and have always rooted for them. Now that they hired this cute little waitress that I have the hots for, I am their newest devotee. I win all around because at Ambrosia good things come to those who wait as well as those who eat.

Sandwiches and salads are around $11 while entres hover just south of $20.

Sandwiches and salads are around $11 while entres hover just south of $20. Elaiine and I split this great Club sandwich and then upgraded the salad that came with it to the Ambrosia salad which is chock full of tasty tidbits and covered in a very good raspberry vinaigrette. So we got away with a good lunch there for $6 apiece.