By: Brian Kendall
While in school at TCU in the 1980s, I worked as a waiter at Abernathy’s on West Berry Street, owned by longtime Fort Worth restaurateur David Shaw. He now owns and operates Shaw’s Patio Bar and Grill on West Magnolia. I remember clearly my last dinner shift as a waiter, even though it’s been 30 years.
I had turned in my apron a month earlier after graduating and was working for a small advertising agency making a whopping $18,000 a year when David called me and asked if I could come in and help him out by filling in for a waiter who had called in sick. Needing the money, I agreed.
Shortly after arriving for the dinner shift, a group of sorority girls came in and asked to sit on the patio, which was closed. The manager made an exception, and the girls were all very appreciative and jovial until they ordered mixed drinks and I carded them. When I returned to the table with water, the sweet, appreciative young women who were so grateful just minutes earlier had turned into a group of eighth-grade mean girls. I was their target. An hour and a half of abuse later, they left and walked the check, at which time I handed in my apron for good.
Waiting tables I learned the importance of greeting and seating customers promptly and making sure that they were offered water or tea as soon as they were seated. To this day, when I sit down at a restaurant and have to wait more than five minutes for a glass of water, I get annoyed. Why? Because it’s not that hard.
Good service is something that can make or break an eatery. It doesn’t matter if it’s Denny’s or Del Frisco’s, good service is a must in the restaurant business. In Fort Worth’s exploding culinary scene, if you’re a new restaurant you better get it right. There is truth in the idiom that you only have one chance to make a first impression, especially for a restaurant.
In our annual culinary issue, we bring you this year’s 15 best new restaurants that are definitely getting it right. From a new Thai restaurant on West 7th to a new Italian restaurant in the Tower downtown, we have you covered with a wide variety of styles and cuisines. We also bring you the results of our 2015 Culinary Awards. With the help of our editorial staff, Yelp reviews and more than 8,000 votes cast by our readers in 67 categories, we present you with 183 winners. While many are mainstays, we have a large number of new entrants.
In our October issue, Executive Editor Jennifer Casseday-Blair announced that she was passing the baton to some other lucky person. I am pleased to announce that the other lucky person has a name…Kendall Clay Louis. Kendall is a 2007 graduate of what is now the Bob Schieffer School of Communications at TCU and brings with her experience in print and digital journalism, with cross-platform integration of content.
I have worked with a number of different editors in the last 17 years, and Jennifer was the best. While we will miss her being here in the office every day and her gift as an executive editor, we will now actually be able to enjoy reading more of her work as she will be freed up to write feature stories for us. Kendall has big shoes to fill.
By: Brian Kendall