Many of my mornings begin in the welcoming arms of my neighborhood coffee shop.
When you walk in the door you are immediately greeted with a genuine “Good morning” by one if not all of the servers and told to sit wherever you please. Choices are counter or table seating. Counter seating as you might expect goes to the single customer although when they are not busy you can sit at a four top and spread out, especially if you have the NY Times. I prefer counter and if available, an orchestra seat in front of the griddle so I can watch the short order maestro perform his concerto juggling the many orders that are passed to him in Spanglish by the servers.
Once settled in I get a good basic breakfast at very reasonable prices. Coffee refills when my cup reaches below 60%, custom omelets, the occasional self-rationalized, stack of awesome blueberry pancakes (using awesome to actually describe something positively extraordinary).
Weekend mornings can get pretty busy. In attendance are parents with their young kids who wont let them sleep in and young couples trying to rebalance their blood levels from the evening’s jaunts with combo platters of pancakes, eggs and meats. Finally, the group brunchers come to take the morning in to the afternoon.
One morning at the counter, I overheard a patron ask his server if he could have a closer look at the decaf coffee pot. He directed the server to angle the pot until he found the perfect shot for his camera phone. He explained it was the exact orangey red color he had been looking for to paint the exterior of the B&B he is building in Belize.
Another morning, I watched Albert one of the servers despite having many tables to cover, spend an inordinate amount of time with this elderly woman who wanted take out but needed extra information about every aspect of her order. After answering many of her questions including the type of coffee grounds they use and how they are packaged (Albert actually went behind the counter to retrieve the coffee bag to show her), she finally finished her order and Albert returned to serving others. His patience and humility really impressed me. When she left I told him how impressed I was at his patience in dealing with her and maintaining his calm despite having so many tables to cover. He responded that she reminded him of his mother. Albert’s example reminded me that I need to show more patience when I get frustrated at my own mother’s incessant questions.
Upon leaving you get a chorus from the servers, thanking you for coming in and wishing you a great day. The cook even stops conducting for a moment to look up and give you a parting smile and a gloved thumbs up. You almost want to turn around take a seat and order all over again. What a great way to begin a day!