Saturday, February 16, 2019
Hello from Amy
by Amy Flowers from The Calamity Cafe by Gayle Leeson
I did it! Today I marched into Lou Lou Holman's office and handed that bully my resignation. And I told her I'm opening my own cafe. You can probably imagine how well that went over.
Let me back up a little. I've been working at Lou's Joint for over a year now. My cousin Jackie has been working for Lou Lou even longer than that. (In case you're wondering, Lou Lou was named after her dad, Lou, who originally built the cafe.) Anyway, Lou Lou doesn't pay her waitresses minimum wage--which is common--but she makes us give her half our tips--which is certainly not common and not right. Plus, the woman will bawl us out over the least little thing.
I've been begging for a shift in the kitchen for ages, but Lou Lou simply won't hear of it. The only people who are allowed cook at Lou's Joint are Lou Lou and her son Pete. Does it matter to her that I've been to culinary school and have some really good ideas for making the cafe more profitable? No, it does not. To her, I'm "getting above my raising."
My sweet nana died last year, and she left me some money. I'm using that money to open my own cafe. I was hoping that Lou Lou would sell her cafe to me so I wouldn't have to build. Remodeling would be so much faster than building my own cafe--which I'm calling the Down South Cafe--from the ground up. But I can do it. Roger--a childhood friend who's a contractor--has already promised to help me. And I have other friends, in addition to my mom and Aunt Bess, who I can count on.
I’m really excited about opening my own café. I learned the basics about cooking at my nana’s right arm. I was always right by her side while she was making breakfast and dinner—and holiday meals were the best. We’d start—or, she’d start, but when I got older I was allowed to help—and prepare the pies and cakes a day in advance. One of my favorite pies she made was her oatmeal pie. I still love to make it because it always reminds me of her. I want to add a display case to my café so I can offer patrons baked goods to take home with them.
And while I want to continue to serve the foods that the café patrons expect and are accustomed to, I also want to give them some more exciting choices as well. Winter Garden residents like the tried-and- true and will be reluctant to pay for something they might not like, so I’ll have to allow patrons to sample new dishes before I add them to the menu. I feel that most of the patrons will love corn fritters made with cheddar cheese, but they might be reluctant to try fried plantain chips. Of course, they could surprise me.
This is going to be fun! Right? What's the biggest adventure you've ever set out on? Did you regret it? Or was it the best decision you ever made?
Submitted by Gayle