May 5, 2017

The End of An Era

When a long-term staff member leaves to pursue other experiences it offers an opportunity to reflect on the mark that person has left on the restaurant, our customers, the staff and me personally. Rob is leaving after six dedicated years of service and his contributions are many — too many to detail in this email. I will give you the highlights.

First off, Rob is one of the best servers I have ever come across and I’ve come across quite a few. His ability to handle our busy Tuesday night dinner service by himself is a case in point. It’s hard to imagine if you’ve never been a server, how challenging it is to manage this entire dining room plus patio by yourself, albeit with the support of the rest of our strong front of house crew.

Rob has been a spirited cheerleader for The Park ever since he arrived. Not only would he congratulate and appreciate the kitchen crew for our work on busy nights (“you guys are killing it tonight, good job”), he would routinely pass on compliments from customers. He made it a point to chat with new customers, enthusiastically recommend his favorite dishes, and report back happily when they were pleased with their first experience here.

Although being a server is not Rob’s main ambition, he took the job very seriously and professionally. He educated himself on our wine list and on wine in general. He ordered dishes off our menu that he wanted to try, so that he could better explain them to customers. He made sure to know proper pronunciations for all our esoteric ethnic dishes and asked pertinent questions about new menu items or any food related issue he was unfamiliar with.

I have always appreciated Rob’s genuine love and respect for our food and concept. He is unreserved when it comes to recommending dishes to customers (“my favorite dish on the menu, best burger in Los Angeles, best pork chop I’ve ever eaten, I would eat that curry every day”), putting his credibility with the customer on the line time and again. It’s truly rewarding to hear a server authentically recommending food the way that Rob does.

Finally and most consequentially, Rob suggested that we keep some of our most popular Tuesday night menu items on the permanent menu so that people who enjoy those items can find them whenever they come in, not only on occasional Tuesday nights. That’s how the chicken piccata, eggplant parmesan and braised beef ossobucco have become Park staples. This suggestion proved to be quite successful and I think it has directly contributed to making the restaurant substantially busier.

What else can I say except thank you Rob for your work, dedication, friendship, professionalism, for caring so much, for helping us succeed, for leaving this place better than you found it.

Have a great weekend and hope to see you at The Park.

– Chef Josh

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