Tacos For All! - A Breakfast of Champions
Geppetto’s has been serving breakfast on Saturdays and Sundays for the last several months. For the next two weekends… we will not.
We are taking a breakfast sabbatical. This morning we learned an important lesson… again. If suddenly your head breakfast chef can’t make it to work... there has to be a solid backup plan in place. A backup plan which is consistent with what customers have come to expect.
Right out of the gate… a twelve top, an eight top and several twozies and threezies. Thanks be to God… the right people came. Folks were patient, kind and understood the difficulty we were facing. We lost half a dozen tables or so when we simply started running out of breakfast food items at around 11:00. The only thing worse then that sinking feeling… is that sinking feeling which hits over and over again… like the waves of the ocean. There was nothing we could do except to offer our most sincere apologies.
So… for the next two weeks our job will be to compile processes and procedures for the breakfast menu. After that time… we will assess preparedness and determine whether or not breakfast at Geppetto’s will continue.
Meanwhile… I cannot say enough good things about the crew that swooped in this morning and saved the day. We all dug deep. Two of our team came in on their only day off. We did what we had to do and got the job done. While ticket times were slow... and some items may have appeared a little different than usual… folks were fed well. We served what we could until what was prepped was gone.
Our survival party kicked off with a thirty taco platter, guacamole and chips from Azuls Taco House downtown Salem. We celebrated our Breakfast of Champions and it was delicious!
Sneaking in a hug and a selfie with Tino, Azul’s owner, was a gift to my heart. Bless you, Sir, your business and your family.
Happy Halloween! Be safe out there.
PS… At this point… I can’t wait for the Spirit Halloween Store to close. For about a month… this parking lot has been a nightmare!
Creatures of Habit
The day started early…. long before daylight. Coffee on - post haste! The smell of fresh brew is magic.
I didn’t drink coffee regularly until we bought a restaurant. Now it’s part of the morning routine; alarm off, lights on, coffee rolling!
Geppetto’s has an older model industrial coffee maker with three burners. It makes great coffee, fast. Since we started serving breakfast consumption has increased, not for me but for the restaurant.
Last night, Miss Lilly took after our treasured coffee pot. You see… great servers are never bored. As is known in any business; If there’s time to lean… there’s time to clean! Well, Lilly shined that coffee maker till it looked like new. She even took off the little metal filter which diffuses the water before it hits the grounds.
(sound of screeching brakes)
That’s where things went wrong. It took two pots of brown water this morning before it hit me; Lilly cleaned the coffee pot last night!
I waited as long as I could to text.
“Lilly!! What did you do to the coffee maker? I’ve been here since 5:30 and all I’ve had is hot, brown, water!”
“Oh, Miss Julie… what you are looking for is about the size of a fifty cent piece. It has holes in it. I sent it through the dish room.”
After several thorough searches… Alex found it. Might have been the gradual rising of anxiety… due to a lack of routine… but I couldn’t see it. Thank you, St. Anthony and Thank you dishwasher, Gabe, for tucking it somewhere safe… so it wouldn’t get lost forever.
Didn’t get my first cup till 8:30. All is well. We are all creatures of habit. The restaurant business has made me one of the worst.
Note to EVERYBODY; Any small parts… especially those belonging to the coffee maker… should be followed through the dish room and returned ASAP.
It’s not just your life you’re saving.
No Dinx & Hungarian
We ventured out today. Landed in Albany. Picked up a shirt order at No Dinx.
After pickup… we made a B-line for Novak's Hungarian Restaurant at 208 SW 2nd Ave. Between their website, Facebook page and Google listing… we found conflicting information as to hours of operation. More on that later. The good news is… we arrived in perfect time.
Owners Karen and Matilda were there along with a few volunteers. Yes, I said volunteers. Karen remembered my call after the fire at Mattress World. At that time… Novak’s had been dealing with a fire closure for nearly a year. Overwhelmed by our own circumstances I reached out for wisdom. Never having navigated a fire claim… I sought to know how they were handling things. Our conversation brought comfort and mutual inspiration to drive forward and make it through to the other side.
Novak’s damage was far more extensive than ours. Their fire was upstairs downstairs and they lost most everything. Smoke and soot took its toll here but a thorough cleaning, fresh paint and carpet brought us back to life in six short weeks. They were shut down for more than a year. As in our case… financial assistance is difficult to qualify for because 2020 actually looks better on the books… because of the closures in 2019.
“Two weeks after we re-opened after the fire, Karen said, we were shut down because of COVID.” It’s been a nightmare.”
Novak’s is currently open Thursday through Saturday. They are serving up the same delicious Hungarian family food recipes as always.
“New phone lines came in today.” Matilda said. “Suddenly nothing but our land line would work. No internet, no merchant services. I didn’t know what to do. Then our dear friend Caleb came to help. Thank God he was able to get all things going again.”
“I paid him in food.” She said. “I have plenty of that to give.”
I don’t think she could tell but my mind reeled. I could so relate… not only as to technical difficulties, but the general situation at hand. Knowing what it’s like when phone’s won’t work, merchant services are down, gas pipes leak, the website needs updating and Google is being Google. It’s all going on at the same time or another and the customer expectation is that you should be able to handle it all up to the minute. It’s hard on a good day. Our suffering has been nothing compared to theirs. They survived the fire, lost both parents and almost the family restaurant. Volunteers keep customers happy Thursday through Saturday. Matilda, Karen and family are working so hard.
I could feel the presence of their mother and father… standing with their daughters, keeping their legacy alive.
Matilda, I asked, How can I help?
She took a deep breath and softly replied. “Pray for us.”
So… here I go.
God, please grant Karen, Matilda and family all that they need. Give volunteers continued time in their schedules and financial support to keep the help coming. Please, God, bring trusted advisors to help the Novak family find any assistance, grants or otherwise, which they may qualify for. Bring support from all over the Valley. You, God, are in charge of invitations! Bring all the right customers at just the right time. I trust that you will bring the Novak family through these trying times and into a new season of exponential growth and financial security. Finally, as my son Alex says, “We know you’re driving the bus. Now, if you would just put your hands on the wheel for a minute… that would be awesome!”
For the sake of everything that is good, keep the Novak’s legacy of deliciousness alive and well. Theirs defines “comfort food” Like my Grandma used to make.
It seems the most accurate hours of operation can be found on the Novak’s Facebook page. If you can help in any way… call them: 541-967-9488. And btw… this post wasn’t their idea… so if they seem surprised by any offers for help… tell them I was inspired to ask on their behalf.
We are all out and all in! No Dinx and Hungarian.
Community Partnership & Perseverance
At least that’s what this post was supposed to be about… until the plumbing backed up again.
If I could… I would swear here. I’m rather tired. Feeling stretched. Grateful for everything… even challenges… because challenges make us stronger, right? I guess I need to be stronger still.
We closed early. Roger did everything he could to fix it. Our fine neighbors to the south, Office Max, allowed our customers to use their facilities. Plumber will be here first thing. Hoping to sleep without worry… because what would worry do? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. My head will hit the pillow trusting that the fix is on the way. God is the god of restoration… even when it comes to plumbing. Thank you to our customers for their understanding. Grace and latitude win again.
More soon. As to partnerships and perseverance. Yes. Together we win again!
Two weeks ago Salem Chamber of Commerce Greeters Meeting was at The Yard Food Park. Tomorrow at 8:30am we’ll be at Scottish Rite on South Commercial. Partnership is where it’s at. Join us if you can. Partnership is good for business! Perseverance is a survival technique.
I look forward to greeting the plumber here in the morning. Now that’s one profession that deserves the utmost respect and appreciation. #somebodyhastodoit
Better Than Space
A first for us…
We set out on a date in search of a treat. Frozation Nation called us this time. He went vanilla, granola, nuts and peanut butter sauce. I opted for chocolate, vanilla, M&Ms, brownie and chocolate sauce. YUM! Of course we share. I kinda liked his better. But mine had CHOCOLATE!
Makes me wonder… what did the crew have for dessert on The Enterprise. Perhaps this is Googleable!
We had the pleasure of meeting Alvaro, the owner. Interestingly… when our eyes met… before I knew he owned the place… I could tell he understood. We share a common bond in an unusual time; food, hospitality and ownership. Made me think… perhaps a new kind of support group is necessary. I know it’s been harder on some than others. I don’t know what I would do without the support of the Salem community and the Salem Area Chamber of Commerce. Fellowship is where it’s at… and not only at church. There is a big network here… strength in numbers and companionship no matter how difficult the journey. We are here together… at this particular time… for many wonderful reasons.
As we sat in the sun on Liberty Street with the bustle of Brown's Towne Lounge and music coming out of Noble Wave… I felt inspired.
Think outside the routine and support local businesses. We may not be able to do much about the bigger picture but maybe… just maybe… the bigger picture will improve when the smaller ones get it right.
We are here for you, Alvaro. And your Frozation Nation gave us a great date spot on a sunny, Fall day and yummy, YUMMY treats. Thank you and Bless you.
Unicorns are Coming!
The response to my unconditional job posting has been amazing. Thank you Salem Eats and thank you to the Salem Area Chamber of Commerce for giving the community a place to support and encourage local business.
As I sat interviewing one potential new hire… Esther came by the table.
“Sorry to interrupt. She said. But there is a woman here who would like to see you. She says she’s a unicorn.”
For those of you who missed the unconventional job posting… unicorns at Geppetto’s can do some of everything. When they are on the clock they serve in the area of greatest need (AGN). They prioritize by the minute. Unicorns are like that collector card everybody wants but is so hard to find.
I politely excused myself and hustled to greet her.
“Hi… I said, I hear you’re a unicorn!”
“I am.” She said. “I’m Anne and I would love to work here. It’s been a while but I have lots of experience and I’ll do anything! I’m a unicorn!”
I could tell she wasn’t kidding. She handed me an envelope with her resume and cover letter inside. I placed the envelope to my head like Johnny Carson might have done as Carnac the Magnificent.
Then I asked her two questions…
When can you start and how many hours a week would you like to work?
An hour and a half later Anne came back for a working interview opportunity.
“I love it here.” She said, I absolutely love it here.”
This was music to my ears.
I’m not a super fan of less daylight hours… but the valley is beautiful and the sunset last night brought me peace… I slowed down a bit… at first thinking it would keep me from hitting a deer… then I was reminded… God is taking care of us. People who want to work are out there. Now… if we could just find a unicorn who wants to be a delivery driver!
Breakfast is rollin’ here 9-1 Saturdays and Sundays, Lunch and Dinner seven days a week 11-8 or 9ish. Thanks to my birthday party prime rib dinner… we are offering this weekend Prime Rib Hash with Two Eggs and Toast for $14.95. Dine-in, Takeout and Delivery 503.378.1271
Come on in and see if you can spot a Unicorn!