Posts Tagged ‘ferraro’s spokane valley’

Ferraro’s on east Sprague has what I consider to be very good Italian food and it also has what I unequivocally know to be one of the very sharpest owners in this town. Elaine and I split a wonderful seafood fettucine there for dinner last week. It came with fresh french bread and homemade garlic butter, tossed green salad and ice cream dessert – all for $14 which means we had a nice meal for $7 apiece. The alfredo sauce was rich and creamy and there was nothing but cherished chewing followed by savory swallows. It was the kind of food where one looks forward to any after burps that might bring back gaseous mementoes of the gone-too-soon delicious dinner.
For us, however, the good food is a distant second to the waitress who served us and the hostess who sat us. The former was named Crystal and the latter was Jacque and both their last names is Swanson which happens to be our last name as well. How could we not love them, they are our beautiful teenage daughters. Crystal, who just graduated from West Valley, began working as a hostess more than a year ago and was recently moved up to serving. Pat Ferraro thought so much of her that he hired Jacque when she turned 16 last fall. He thought so much of both of them that he just hired Natalie, 17, their best friend and cousin.
There is an interesting story behind Natalie recently being hired. She had a summer job lined up at Applebee’s, or so she was led to believe. But when she went in for her orientation she was told that the person who hired her was no longer with them and that they were overstaffed. So this Apple bummer bee assistant manager, or whatever he was, has her take an aptitude test. She is a kid and so she tries to be honest which is more than he was being. Based upon her responses, the guy tells her she is not cut out to be a hostess at Applebee’s. What a crock of crap. (That is one of the reasons I seldom eat at the chains – they are managed by corporate-trained managers whereas independents are normally run by life-trained owners.)
This being her first job experience, Natalie was devastated and went home and cried herself to sleep. When our girls heard about it they immediately told Pat, who had been interviewing for a hostess, that Natalie was available. He reasoned that Natalie was family to his trusted employees, which are family to Pat, and that was good enough. I would wager that in his entire career as a long-time restaurateur,Pat has never used an aptitude test to judge the worth of a person and that makes him smarter than all the corporate run restaurants in this town. But I have further reason to believe that he is smarter than his local competition as well.
That night as we were leaving Ferraro’s, Pat asked Elaine for the tenth time or so if she would come to work for him at the new place he was opening at the old Dewey, Cheatum and Howe location on north Division. He had been asking her for weeks and Elaine had just kind of laughed it off. She was making a living painting and working with me building houses and was not looking for a job. But Pat was very persistent and that night he told her she could make out her own schedule and take the shifts she wanted. Pat said he needed her help in the bar where he had no experience.
While Elaine was honored and moved, I thought to myself that it was about time that someone appreciated this women like she deserved. I bought a niteclub/restaurant, The Rock Inn, nine years ago because I believed in Elaine so much. She has more personality and professionalism than any owner, let alone wait person, that I have seen in all of the Valley watering holes. Yet in the 5 years since we left the Rock Inn, no one in the Valley has been smart enough take advantage of her. She has tried to get a job at different times but only offered a few lousey shifts when a couple of the owners were desperate.
I crave Charlie P’s food, and I love the atmosphere at the Iron Horse and the Sullivan Scoreboard is a lot of fun, and furthermore I consider all the owners of these Valley establishments and several others to be our friends. I have thought for years, however, that they were all foolish for not asking Elaine to come whip their staffs into shape, considering none of them have really great service. She would be an example to everyone that local bars do not have to settle for the mediocrity in service that they all have become complacent with.
At the Rock Inn, Elaine not only took care of our 4 kids, she also ran our wait staff, waited on tables, organized and served dozens of banquets and meetings, and bartended 4 nights a week. On top of all that she did our books and the year we did 1.2 million in sales she was off $1.36. Now that is a person that has something to offer. But until now, no one was smart enough to see that but me.
While he knows we owned a place and that Elaine helped run it,Pat has never seen her serve nor has he interviewed her or given her a silly aptitude test. But he knows what an outgoing and upbeat person she is and he knows how much how he loves the daughters she raised. Based on that and what he knows about the business and what he knows about people, Pat felt he had to have Elaine at his new place. I think that is about the smartest thing I’ve seen in a very long time.
Pat’s persistence finally paid off and Elaine is going to retire from painting and go to work doing what she loves to do at the new Dewey’s Burgers and Brew on Division later this month. She put together a schedule that allows her to help me on the houses and still be there for Pat 5 days a week. It will be a challenge for her, but she is more than capable of delivering and living up to the tremendous belief both Pat and I have in her.
Elaine and Crystal who started hostessing at the Rock Inn when she was 10.
Jacque the hostess that we love the mostest.

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