Just came across this treasure. Given to us when “Rona” (a.k.a. Coronavirus) took over. Such a sweet blessing once again. So glad I kept it.
The Valley we live in is special. The Salem community is big but small. I am grateful to be here. We are surrounded by good folks. We have survived thus far and will continue to fight the good fight. We are determined. Through Rona and wildfires, with wonderful customers and our awesome staff... we will survive.
Little known fact... my Grandfather, Frank, always wanted to live here in the Willamette Valley. Living in the Midwest and life being what it was in the early 1900s... he never had that chance. I do, Grandpa Frank, and I am thankful. I think you would have loved it here.
God knows just what we need and when we need it... because the view from Heaven is infinite!
Hang in there everyone. Love each other, shop local and keep looking up!
To echo the Brown family, “May God keep you safe and healthy. Praying for a lot of blessings!”
As we have done since last March we will continue to do. While the word compliance makes me squirm... we will do as we are told for the sake of all.
It started with disinfectant and a six foot rule. Then came non essential business shut downs. Thank God we were deemed essential. No dine in but take out and delivery remained. Thank God that was already in place. It was painful to see others close because they were unable to offer delivery or enough takeout business to stay in business.
Then she said,
“You can re-open with limitations.”
Six foot rules in place now, with barriers. No more than 10 at a table. We moved furniture like crazy, measured and scrambled to find 2x2s and plexiglass. Masks required! Some not able to afford to remain open close indefinitely.
Time goes by. Numbers increase. Less then a week ago it was, “No more than 6 at a table and no more than 50 in your establishment including staff.” Not even Buffalo Wild Wings could afford to remain open for business! Side note... I miss their queso dip. I do hope they come back.
Two days later... Lockdown looming. Whatever it takes. We will comply in order to keep everyone safe.
Over the river and through the woods to Grandmothers house you go? Not this year. I hope you like who you live with because that’s who is coming to dinner!
Church is mad, sad and disappointed. They too are following guidelines to the enth degree. For many... church is essential... at least as essential as Costco and Walmart.
Deep down I know the two week window on this latest shift is the minimum. We are preparing for longer.
Employees are worried. Feeling unsettled. We spent the better part of yesterday scheduling. Will we be busy? We hope so but we just don’t know. The hardest part is holding the pencil. We can’t afford to over staff. Our team is amazing. Who is essential? Is anyone not? We promise to do our best to keep everyone working as much as possible.
Man, this is hard!
Still, hope remains because that’s how we roll. We pray for all workers and businesses effected by these latest directives. We pray for those who are sick, for those who are struggling and for those who have died.
While we hoped for a sprint... this trial is a marathon. Keep swimming. Pivot, get creative and trust in the bigger picture. There is a long term plan we’re navigating here. We are on this planet at the same time for good reason. Stay connected, shop local and know that you are never alone. If you’ve read this far... know that I am praying for you. There is power in numbers... no matter how few. God has got this. I trust that above all else. May peace be with you and may we all live long and prosper.
Geppetto’s will remain open for dine in through tomorrow, Tuesday night. From then on... until further notice.. we will remain open for takeout and delivery, 7 days a week, 11:00am to 8, 9 or 10ish. When business is slow... we must go.
You are what you eat! You become what you choose to consume. You get back what you put out there. You leave behind what you left. One of the greatest values my parents instilled in me was to always leave where you’ve been better than you found it.
Some have asked, “How do you stay so positive in the midst of it all?” Those of you who know me know I rely on my faith. Roger’s words from across the state as he camped and hunted, “I know it’s stressful. Just take it one thing at a time.” I quickly retorted, “Tell that to the one being water boarded!”
The disappointed customers had a right to be unhappy. Their server was having a bad night. It happens some times. As a team we do what we can to help each other. If you see somebody sinking you help.
That night, we simply didn’t have enough help. Substitute bartender/server called out. Dishwasher/busser did too. Thirty year Marty is still not well and has been unable to return to work. With Roger out of town, that meant the lead delivery driver had to jump back into his roll as bartender/server and I became the lead delivery driver. Delivery driving makes for a lot of coming and going. When I wasn’t on delivery I was seating folks, making pizzas, bussing tables and trying desperately to keep up with the dishes. At one point I made eye contact with one of the guests at the unhappy table. I asked “You guys okay?” The man said, Yeah.” I knew the server was struggling but the alarm had sounded and I had to make another delivery. I said a prayer as I ran out the door, arms full.
All it took was one desperation text from me and a dear friend, an awesome server, who also happens to be a nurse, jumped in to help. She’d never been inside Geppetto’s except as a guest. Her energy and spirit of positivity went out before her and she did great. Our 24 year guy trained her on the fly. They handled most of the busy bar and restaurant and simply didn’t have time to help the third server who was struggling.
The point is this… Attitude is really everything. If you expect bad things, bad things will come. If you tear people down and don’t do what you can to lift them up… you have not made the world a better place. If you step out with the intent to do harm the same is true.
A restaurant is like a house of cards. If one falls it impacts all of the others. We survived a very busy weekend down three valuable staff members. It is so important to keep things up and built with light and love, hope and peace, joy and grace. Using any platform to spew negativity and even lies is simply destructive. I refuse to participate in such ugliness. You have a problem? Come to me and I will do my best to make things right. If you know me… you know that’s a fact.
My life was transformed years ago by praying this prayer, “God please give me your eyes to see, that I may love others the way you know they need to be loved.” This prayer has blessed friendships both personal and in business and saved my marriage more than once.
It is my desire to leave this world better than I found it. If you’re not already, join me. Try turning each negative thought into a positive one. Choose to listen and to view things that feed your soul well. Turn away from darkness. You are what you eat. You become what you consume. Ask to be given eyes of compassion and watch what happens. I predict you will be amazed. I’ve been known to say, God is so much fun to watch… even better than Netflix.
Two worlds collided last night and something delicious was made.
Salem’s Hampton Inn is a great supporter of local business. Travelers are often directed to Geppetto’s for take out, delivery or dine in.
Last Monday I made a lunch delivery to one of their guests. He was a handsome man with an intriguing accent ... but that wasn’t where the magic happened.
It was in the Lobby where I ran into sweet Kinji, Sales Manager for Hampton. We chatted about the excitement of their new addition and I shared with her Geppetto’s need for ravioli machine repair.
“It’s coming.” I told her. “Meanwhile we wait and make all of our raviolis by hand.”
With that, her eyes lit up like a kid in an underwater aquarium filled with fishies.
“You’re making your ravioli by hand?! Can I help?! I’ve always wanted to make ravioli! And I have my food handlers card and everything.
Surprised she was serious. I took her up on her offer. Not long after I left... she texted. “Can my coworker, Jennifer, our front Desk Manager, come along? She’d like to help too.
So... last night... after a long day at work they arrived. The two quickly picked up the process and were off! Approximately 500 Geppetto’s three cheese raviolis were made by these two wonderful women. Roger will be so thankful when he returns from elk hunting (A.K.A. “Hiking with a gun.”). Geppetto’s November special is well underway
Business partnerships are strong in this neck of the woods. Especially when those doing business are willing, courageous and capable of being inspired. That’s where the magic happens! Bless you, Kinji and Jennifer for your help. What you felt was a gift to you is a gift to many... including me.
@Salem Area Chamber of Commerce, Salem Area Chamber of Commerce GREETERS, Salem Chamber Business Women, Geppetto's Italian Restaurant, Hampton Inn & Suites Salem, Oregon
Just... left... ACME... Cafe. Roll me over and stick a fork in me... I’m so full! I went for it and thoroughly enjoyed the chicken fried chicken. I appreciate the way the scrambled eggs kept the potatoes hot to the finish. The gravy did the same for the chicken. The chicken was juicy and tender. Even the ketchup was delicious. The muzak was a little out of my league. Made me want to jump up and bang my head around, like I used to back in the day. That’s okay though... at least I ate fast. Our server, Brian, told us he was a little off his game because he recently went cold turkey on the Redbull. Brian is a busy server and very good at his job. Acme Cafe is doing it right.
Now, Roger and I are off to put up the raviolis we made yesterday. We also need to make a fresh batch of our house made creamy garlic dressing, chocolate mousse and mousse pie! Wish us luck... what I really want is a pillow and a nap! @ ACME Cafe
We would love to be fishing or camping or traveling to some fascinating destination. Alas... it’s the restaurant business we’re in and it never stops. We chatted a bit in the wee hours of this morning about date nights and things away from this place. We are blessed beyond belief simply to have each other. We and our staff remain healthy. Thanks be to God... and to strict guidelines... and great hygiene. We pray for those afflicted, for people and businesses who have suffered during this time. We watch in awe those who have managed to endure... to bounce back, to adapt and change. We are humans. We will never be perfect but we know how to evolve and survive
We are thankful to be here at Starship Geppetto’s making Ma’s ravioli by hand. I’m responsible for the filling. Roger is handling the pasta. The dress shirt he used to wear in medical management now serves as a shield from the massive amounts of flour required in making ravioli. Reminds me of art time in grade school where each student brought one of dad’s shirts to wear. Even though Roger’s shirt fits better than dad’s shirts ever did he still looks adorable. We do this work with true love for each other and grateful hearts. Master mechanic, Shelby continues the quest to resurrect our coveted ravioli machine
To those of you who manage to escape, to relax and explore... carry us in your hearts. Share your adventures. We want to know what is happening out there... away from the news. Know that Ma’s ravioli and a whole bunch of other deliciousness will be waiting here for you. Just a reminder... we are open 11:00am, 7 days a week for dine in, takeout and delivery. Our closing hours vary based on business. If we are slow... we must go!
Praying for all. Make it a great day!
You may be aware we have identified jobs which we can most easily delegate. We hire folks with special needs to take on tasks they are absolutely qualified to execute.
It is our belief that each of us has special needs... some of which are just more visible than others. This guy, Brandon, not only sees to it that each customer feels first upon arrival... but that Dorothy... who follows him on Wednesdays is directed and provided for equally as well. Brandon’s attention to detail is unmatched. He trained Dorothy when she first came aboard and leaves her each Wednesday with specific instructions as to how to complete the tasks at hand for that day. Along with that, he sees to it that Dorothy has a pizza waiting for her as she finishes her shift.
Brandon says he wants to make Geppetto’s pizza for others. I let him know... “When you can make Geppetto’s pizza the way we make it... you may have the opportunity to do so.” Until then... Brandon provides for us in seeing to it the customer feels first... and that his family and Dorothy are provided for each Wednesday, Brandon Coston Style!
Bless you, Brandon. You are an awesome human with a great big heart... and we are thankful for you!
Mayday! Mayday! . . . - - - ... Starship Geppetto’s to Shelby...
. . . - - - . . .
Ravioli... machine... DOWN!
Pasta rolled and ready early this am. Filling prepped and at the ready. A flip of the switch... a few short revolutions and then... silence. Nothing more. She wouldn’t turn!
Shelby came as quickly as possible. He’s headed to Richard and G &S Machine in Keizer.
We are into some next level “sheeet” here. It seems the motor rebuilding of decades ago was installed backwards. Time will tell and the genius of Shelby will reveal itself.
To watch him analyze the situation was like watching a highly qualified surgeon. He knows what makes it work. And so we wait.
Raviolis down for now.
The good news... Roger and others put up ravs by hand. They will be tested tomorrow... to see what they bring.
Meanwhile, mechanic, Shelby, will do his due diligence and see to it the challenge is addressed and rectified. We trust that much. Shelby is the best!
Meanwhile... we began the long forgotten quest of hand pressing Ma’s raviolis.
Such a trip.!
Reminds me of this...
Ma Barsotti’s grandson, Tony Bidwell came in for dinner. He ordered Ma’s Ravioli. In truth... he received the last full serving. From here forward... we will be going old school... pressing and rolling... waiting for the news that Shelby has found the fix... and the way to get us back in the business of mass producing Ma’s Raviolis!
As I have been known to say... “Holy "sheet" Balls... God is in control!"
Tomorrow will tell. Prayers appreciated!
It was a shortly before 7:30pm when they came through the little red door. They were quiet, very well mannered and patient as they waited for a table that Friday night. They appeared tired and dirty. Their uniforms gave them away. They were three wild land firefighters here all they way from South Dakota to assist in fighting the fires which have ravaged our beautiful state. Even before they sat, another table of customers, dear friends of Geppetto’s, had offered to anonymously pay for their meal. The three men ate well and left happy and full. They were surprised by the generosity. With genuine gratitude they excepted the gift. They left to sleep for the night and to fight the Beachie Creek fire yet another day.
I wished after they left I had gotten their names. I wished I had asked more questions about who they are and where they are from. Oh well, I thought. They will remain in my prayers as the three tired, courageous firefighters from South Dakota who came all this way to help.
Fast forward to Wednesday around 8:00pm. Just as the rush was waning, faithful Geppetto’s customer, Charlie, reaches out to me and says, “Here’s some money. Firefighters are on their way in and I want to put this toward their meal.” Because Geppetto’s has no windows I was a little confused at first until the little red door flew open and the parade began.
From behind the pizza counter I watched as they filed in... not three this time but 10.
“You came back!” I shouted as I pointed to one of the three I had seen before.
Just then, Charlie turned to the group. With his booming voice and great big heart he thanked the men for their service.
So much taking my breath away these days. So much good is happening in the midst of suffering.
The men had the same look of exhaustion on their faces. “Come on in, I said. We’ll get you fed and ready for a good nights sleep.”
As they headed to table, Charlie picked up his pizza and turned toward the door.
“Thanks, Charlie. I said. You’re a good man. Your contribution will go a long way. We’ll see to it they are taken care of.”
Immediately my husband, Roger, quietly asked, “And just how are you going to do that?”
I quickly did a little math in my head... with Charlie’s donation and a recent gift from my mom, add $100 from another contributor and the $20 sent back to the restaurant from a delivery given for this very cause...
“Let’s see where we land.” I told Roger. “God will provide.”
Their final bill, when all was said and done, amounted to one dollar shy of the amount we had collected.
I went to Roger to give him the good news. “Well, he said, It’s coming out of your pocket.”
Those of you who know Roger know he was totally kidding. Together we acknowledge the fact that the losses are great, the depth and breadth of which continues to be revealed. No matter what your place in all this… know that you are never alone. We are in it together for the long haul. Even when the fires are out there will be more to do. Know that Roger and I are praying for all, trusting God will provide perfectly for each and every circumstance. We also wish to acknowledge the spirit of generosity which has exploded in our midst.
Digging fire lines through the forest floor of the Oregon wilderness is no small task. To Lowden, Jake, Jeremy and Crew; May your lives be blessed for every inch of progress you made on our behalf.
Side note... South Dakota is one of my most favorite states. If you haven’t seen the Crazy Horse Monument near Mt. Rushmore, you should. Its history will blow your mind.
Holy Meatballs! We Have a Winner!
The restaurant business has its challenges, not the least of which is dissatisfied customers. When a complaint repeats itself you know it’s time to make a change. Change can be hard in any environment. Change in a place where things have been done the same for decades can be downright painful.
Since Roger and I beamed up here; 3.31 years ago today, in fact, there have been changes. We wouldn’t dare mess with Geppetto’s signature recipes but replacing Sysco brand meatballs with my East Coast girlfriend’s Sicilian Grandmother’s recipe was a no brainer. They are labor intensive, which I know can be a bad thing in business but in this case so worth it. The investment of time is a lot. Our Stuffed Meatball Pizza is a huge hit! It’s when the meatballs are served on a plate, in orders of three where trouble seems to come. It hurts my heart to find them on a plate in the dish room or to hear customers say, “Their dry. Too dense. Couldn’t even cut it with my fork.” My reactions have run the gamut, from “Well they are just impossible to please.” To… “ Who was on the line when they ate?!” Last evening’s complaint was to be the last. Knowing the hours myself and others spent making them over the weekend, I vowed to get to the root of the problem.
I laid in bed overnight, unable to sleep. I went over the entire meatball process. From the time my dear friend surrendered her Grandmother’s recipe and helped me figure and multiply “a little bit of this and a handful of that” by forty. I remembered with great fondness the time I enjoyed those meatballs in their family home. I thought perhaps I’d died and gone to Italian Grandmother heaven! Then it hit me, the missing stretch in the road to consumption! What Geppetto’s wasn’t doing made all the difference and it wasn’t good. They needed to simmer, in sauce, for HOURS! Then and only then should they ever be consumed.
So, this morning, I arrived at the restaurant with a plan in mind and it worked! I was so happy to have found a solution. No more of the old way. The new way has begun and it is a Geppetto’s meatball game changer! I can’t wait for folks to order. The tenderness is there. The flavor is rich. This is gonna be great, I thought.
Well, my awesome change in procedure was not well received by some.
“You’re giving us one more thing to do and obviously… you’re not a cook. You don’t know what it’s like.“
My response, “What if this makes it easier for you?” Ultimately, the goal has to be customer satisfaction! A little more time in preparation can make all the difference!”
We reached an understanding when he took the time to taste them. The rocky road smoothed and all will be well. All will be better as we learn and grow. Reflection and examination of things is not always easy or comfortable but so worth it.
To quote a wise Vulcan, "Change is the essential process of all existence." -- Spock