On this date - 093065.1 - A star was born in Seattle, WA. Our parents brought six children into this world. I am known as “Number Five.”
Mom used to say, “You are so spoiled.” I would argue, “I am not!” She would softly reply, “Yes you are… and If you weren’t… you wouldn’t be one of my children.”
Mom teaches me daily, as she has my whole life, about love and courage, grace and loyalty, perseverance, integrity and the importance of laughter. She sent me flowers today… just as I was reaching to order some up for her. How do you thank someone for giving you life? I think I know the answer. It came on a plaque from my Aunt Chuck, a gift for my high school graduation.
What you are is God’s gift to you. What you become is your gift to God.
It’s kind of the same for my parents. They gave me life… and what I do with it matters.
Each day I do as much as I can… as much as I can. All in! All out! I choose life and light, joy and hope. Anything to the contrary is unacceptable.
We are having my birthday dinner at Geppetto’s tonight. Chef Frank is cooking up something special. If all goes well… perhaps prime rib will make it’s way onto the menu! I never say never anymore… for truly anything is possible.
Meanwhile… tomorrow will bring October, Our NEW Impossible Pizza and other deliciousness. Until then… I don’t feel a day over fifty six!
The Morning After
Dinner was delicious. Chef Frank Primley knows his way around a prime rib. It was so tender… you could cut with a fork! And the flavor... delicious! I think Geppetto’s needs to offer prime rib... if not all the time... maybe as a special. I’ll reach out to Stephen at Rudy's Butcher Shop today to see about pricing. Also, numbers 1, 4 and 6 came for the party last night. So grateful Mom was able to get there too! Blessings to all on this... the first day of October 2021.
Courage and A Willing Spirit - An Unconventional Job Posting
Sweet guy knew we were struggling and wanted to help. He gave two weeks notice at his other job as a CDL driver. He’d never worked in a restaurant before… not for one minute. He had dined out plenty thanks to me and made his way through many a restaurant kitchen delivering beer. His hands were calloused from lifting so much. His tolerance for heat was minimal and he relished his time spent in walk-in coolers throughout the valley. In bars and convenience stores around the area he was known as the polite and thoughtful, strong and funny beer guy. His name is Alex and he is my son.
He serves on the line at Geppetto’s now and doesn’t seem to hate the pressure or the heat. It’s like he’s been equipped with a different kind of suit… the heat is there but he doesn’t bitch about it. He says, “What good would it do anyway? You gotta just get in there and get the job done… one ticket at a time.” He brings comedy and calm to the chaos. He cares about customer satisfaction and has quickly become a dang good line and prep cook. He cares about this place and the people he works with. He drops in sometimes… just in case the help is needed.
He does the heavy lifting for me now. Shoulder pain doesn’t keep me up at night so much anymore. His being here is help multiplied exponentially.
He has taught me so much. Mostly, that it isn’t always experience you’re looking for. Sometimes it’s courage and a willing spirit.
Are you… or is anyone in your world looking for a change or maybe even a side job? Geppetto’s is in need of Delivery Drivers, Line Cooks, Pizza Cooks, Order Takers, Servers and Unicorns!
Yes, I said Unicorns! Unicorns are what we call utility players. They fall into the category we call “AGN.” AGN stands for Area of Greatest Need. Unicorns show up and float. A cross trained employee can go wherever they are needed throughout a shift.
If you know anyone interested in any one of the afore mentioned job duties call 503.378.1271 or drop off a resume at 616 Lancaster Dr NE. In Salem. Geppetto’s is a family owned restaurant. We care about our staff and welcome those who can learn quickly and want to work.
Have courage! You never know where you might find your passion.
I remember one evening when Alex was a little boy. We were out to dinner when I noticed him staring at my Fish & Chips. When asked if he wanted a bite he replied, “No thanks… but mom… if that’s the batter… what’s the gooder?" Now I can say, with absolute certainty, My son, you are the gooder. I love you with my whole heart. - Mom
I challenge you… write three lines.
1. Five syllables
2. Seven Syllables
3. Five Syllables
5 The rain is grounding
7 Showers refreshment on Earth
5 Eat at Geppetto’s!
Our dining room is open and delicious breakfast is served 9am-1pm, Saturday and Sunday. Little known fact… if it’s pizza your longing for in the morning… we can make it! Lunch and Dinner are served 7 days a week from 11:00am-close. Dine-in at 616 Lancaster Dr. NE… or call for takeout and delivery, 503.378.1271.
Spirit Halloween Store opened yesterday! And they’re right next door! The Among us costume hasn't arrived yet but it’s coming.
Come on in. Eat Geppetto's and shop at Spirit Halloween, OfficeMax, Mattress World and the The Salvation Army Store! Hometown Buffet is gone but the El Torito Market is opening soon! ((El Mensajero Magazine)) Lot’s going on here at Lancaster Center East. Feels hopeful.
Now it’s your turn to write a Haiku. Make it a great day and enjoy the rain!
Factors and Variables - The Slippery Slope of a Bad Guest Experience
It took me three tries to pass college Algebra… but I did it. Since owning Geppetto’s I have dealt with more factors and variables than I ever did in a math class.
I ask a server as he flies by… “Need Anything?”
“Yes please, he quickly replies, Dr. Pepper to 27.”
I bring Dr. Pepper to 27 only to find it was intended for 32. At 32 I find they also wanted a refill on Coke. I returned to the table with the Coke and I notice the woman looking strangely at me.
“Everything okay?” I asked.
“Well, no.” She said, while smiling. “As a matter of fact… this has become one of our favorite places for Italian. And tonight it’s just not the same. Everything is terrible. Did you get a new cook or something?”
Whenever I hear that… I know, deep down, EVERYTHING can’t possibly be terrible. I know there must be more to the story.
“Please, tell me what you mean by EVERYTHING is terrible? What happened here tonight?”
“Well, she said, I didn’t want to say anything but it’s just not as good as it was the last time we were here. The marinara isn’t right. It tastes like nothing. Like it’s watery. It has NO flavor. It tastes like NOTHING.”
I then noticed she has hardly touched her lasagna. Lasagna has nothing to do with the marinara. I thought to myself… she just isn’t happy. Something more was at play and I was determined to get to the bottom of it.
I excuse myself to taste the sauce. It tasted just like our marinara. In my opinion… delicious. The only thing I could think was that maybe the pasta was not drained properly before plating which would add water to the sauce. Was the cook moving too fast? When he cooked off the pasta… did he remember to add a dash of salt to the water?
Wanting more information I asked the server, “What’s up with 32?”
“Well… he said… they started out with (the other server)… then I took over. She wanted her mozzarella bread the same time as her entree. Her entree wasn’t ready so the mozzarella bread sat and was cold when I brought it to the table. She was not happy.”
Timing between two separate kitchens takes some getting used to. As a server you need to know how to communicate with both kitchens in order to ensure the best possible guest experience. Asking that an appetizer be delivered at the same time as an entree… is… believe it or not… a complicating factor… not impossible… but like a next level, improved gamer move. Perhaps a task a new server hasn’t had to complete… yet.
Side note: We’re doing what we have to do in light of staffing issues. It seems… only in COVID season… is it possible to have a bigger Monday than a Thursday. So much… impossible to predict. Never ending variables! We did not expect that night to be busy. Note to self: If you can avoid it… never schedule two new servers in the same shift.
The couple didn’t want me to but I took care of their meal and encouraged them to give us another try another day. By the time the encounter had ended… I was spent. I think trouble began when customer service felt unsettled. They were passed from one inexperienced server to another… while I was on delivery. She didn’t get to eat her mozzarella bread with her lasagna and I really think that ruined everything.
Factors and variables… service… timing… food quality… and unmet expectations can ruin an appetite and change perception. It’s a slippery slope.
I hope that couple comes back and when they do they have a better guest experience. Meanwhile… I pray for grace… for myself and for those we serve. #ihatemath
Early Dinner at The Ranch
We used to say… eating early was eating like old people. Well… maybe we are old people… cause we love eating dinner early. Digestion well under way before bed is a good thing!
First time at Rancho Miramar on 12th Street. Two words… Fresh and Delicious! I had the Spinach Enchiladas and Roger had the Enchiladas Suiza. Yum Yum Yum!
The Cheese Dip appetizer with fresh jalapeños kinda blew my mind. So good.
Spoke with Francisco there today. You all probably know… but I did not… these good folks also have a restaurant in Dallas. That one is doing the heavy lifting for both locations. This new spot opened a year and a half ago… just as the pandemic arrived. Show ‘em some love here in Salem. #hardworkingfolks #reallygoodfood
Straight From New York to Chicago!
Marvin appeared in the office door. I could tell he had been laughing. As he chuckled he explained.
“Something strange is happening up front. There is a woman from DoorDash here. She says she has a pizza delivery from Straight From New York for some guy named Mike. He gave Geppetto’s as his address.”
Marvin continued. “I’ve been all through the restaurant and there isn’t anybody here who ordered delivery from DoorDash.”
Curious, I headed toward the front of house. There she was, Adorable Miss DoorDash, at the hostess counter, on the phone with the customer.
“Sir, you gave Geppetto’s as the delivery address.” I’m here at Geppetto’s with your pizza.”
Their discussion continued…
“No, I can’t just head to another address.” She said. “You are going to have to call the order line. “
How much is the pizza? I asked.
“Thirteen dollars”, she replied.
I paid, gratuity included, and she left after a quick selfie. Esther from DoorDash is a good sport!
I don’t know who “Mike” is… but that was funny! And we are all enjoying a slice, Straight From New York!
Btw… Today is Star Trek Day! Honoring the 55th anniversary of the Star Trek television premier. Happy Birthday Star Trek! May we all live long and prosper!
Sooo… a woman called to order takeout… a large thin crust pizza…. with fresh mushroom and anchovy. Well… she thought she was calling Geppetto’s in New Hampshire. Therefore… we have a large, thin crust, mushroom and anchovy ready for pickup! Heck… I’d even deliver! Hate to waste a pizza… but there isn’t anyone here who would eat it. Free to the first caller! 503.378.1271
An Unexpected Award
The notice came out of the blue.
I was waiting at a stoplight, on delivery, when my Apple Watch began to vibrate in a rather erratic and distinctly different pattern. Curious, I glanced at the face.
It read, “Congratulations! You’ve earned an award!”
It wasn’t until the next stoplight that I was able to follow up. I didn’t know I was entered into a competition or had set any kind of goals. The only thing I ever purposefully did to my smart watch, other than pairing it to my phone, was choose scenes from Toy Story as my screen savers.
At my next stop, I scrolled a little further and the message continued.
“August Challenge - You earned this award by going 125.5 mi in August 2021.”
I have friends who took on Hood to Coast (Hood & Portland To Coast Relays (Official Page). They trained hard for months in preparation and braved the out of doors running day and night. I tracked them in awe as they made their way in relay teams of twelve, 130 miles walking - 199 miles running, from mountains to sea in two days. (I would have to dig a bit to find out why they make the runners go farther. Maybe because the walkers would take too long to finish?)
Anyhoo… if my watch is right… August was a busy month. My miles were logged running my BEHIND off in this 4,000sq ft space called a restaurant, shopping trips to US Foods CHEF’STORE and delivering Geppetto’s delicious food to our customers. It wasn’t Hood to Coast but it was pretty darn close!
I have decided to claim my prize, to celebrate this moment and announce it to all the world! I think a hand dipped corn dog (with mustard only) and Dairy Women’s Ice Cream at the Oregon State Fair are in order!