by Raymond Napolitano (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Thursday, September 27, 2001
As the world carries on, people everywhere are facing tremendous hardships in the rebuilding and recovery process. As a member of the restaurant community, I would like to encourage concerned folks to please send donations where they can help. The following was forwarded to me by my good friend, Catherine Fallis.
"At last count, 79 Windows on the World Restaurant employees, including two Assistant Sommeliers, plus 235 guests were present in Tower One on the 106th and 107th floors Tuesday morning, September 11th. As Windows on the World's Wine School Coordinator and Assistant Cellarmaster from 1989-1991, I would like to extend my condolences to all those affected by this tragedy."
Michael Skurnick is collecting funds which will then be turned over to David Emil of Windows for distribution directly to the families. Not a penny will go toward anything else. Remember, these are families without fathers and mothers now and can use all the hope we can give them.
Make checks payable to: "Windows of Hope Family Relief Fund" and send directly to: Michael Skurnick Wines, 575 Underhill Blvd. Suite #216, Syosset, NY, 11791. ATT: Lisa Brophy.
FAST FOOD, LOVING SERVICE...
Some people just stand out from the crowd. On Alvarado, in downtown Monterey, at the R.G. Burgers restaurant, there works a gentleman who distinguishes himself daily because of his unyielding hospitality skills. Robert Junghans, the manager since this restaurant opened three years ago, has never failed to stop me in my tracks, every time I go there... which is fairly regularly. If you want to learn about customer service, especially taking care of the details, Robert is the teacher. He is always courteous, patient, energetic, helpful and loving. Even though this is, for all intents and purposes a fast food joint, Robert gives the type of service you'd expect (but not necessarily get) in a full service restaurant. Hats off to a fine gentleman and a beacon by which all who dedicate their lives to service may navigate.
I was talking to Ted Walter the other night. He's the chef/owner of Passionfish, which is easily the hottest restaurant on the Peninsula. He was remarking to me that he'd love to move Passionfish into the space where Stillwater Grill resides. They tried bringing in outside chefs with glossy resumes, but that didn't work. Now both Club XIX and Stillwater are reeling. Since Chef Walter already has a huge local following, in a location that can only be called remote, he feels--and I heartily agree--that relocating Passionfish, and everything it stands for... quality, friendliness and honesty... would allow him to reach more people.
SONG & SUSHI...
Doc Ricketts is up and running again, this time in the location that used to house the Long Bar (on Franklin between Alvarado and Tyler in downtown Monterey). The inside has been redone and looks brand new. As you walk in, there is a sparkling, modern looking bar along the right wall, with lava lamps, glass and steel. Multiple rows of cocktail tables--some tall, some short--fill in the floor area. In the back left corner is a small sushi bar and a grill area. Drinks, sushi and live music as well as comedy are the ticket here. In the front right corner is a good-sized stage. The place is looking sharp and hopefully will provide folks a new joint in which to hang out. The place is brand new and still working out the kinks but we'll keep an eye, ear and stomach on it.
As I've been hopping around town, the absence of tourists--as well as locals--in area restaurants has everyone nervous. Combined with the onset of the winter season, reduced traveling plus an unsure economy are threatening all but the most stable operations. Restaurants, which subsist on narrow profit margins, are one of the first types of businesses to get squeezed out in a recession. It's a little scary to drive through Cannery Row, Ocean Avenue and all the other spots around the Peninsula and not see all those people we are all used to seeing. Let's hope things pick up quickly. Meanwhile, go out and support your favorite spots. It's good to be around other people and it will help everyone through the rough times.