Thursday, June 28, 2007

My Favorite Waiters At Vito.

The waiters who work at Vito are professionals. They're men who wait tables for a living. It's not a part-time gig until something better comes along. It's not a whim to distract them from their real job. It's a career. They take great pride in it and they're excellent at it. Having one of them at your table really shows you what a difference a great waiter makes in your dining experience.

Hank is the General Manager, Head Waiter, and Sommelier at Vito. The place would fall apart without him. People call ahead just to reserve a booth in his section. When I was a customer at Vito I thought he was brusque. I didn't like him so much. But as I've learned with all the waiters at Vito, once you get to know them, you really do love them. They are interesting, complicated and truly funny men.

Hank has worked at Vito for about 15 years. He's originally from Waltham, MA -- which is sort of like Somerville but with more trees. He moved here about 17 years ago from New York where he trained in musical theater at Julliard. He was a song and dance man on Broadway. He was in Guys And Dolls and something else really macho. He came out here and started auditioning but couldn't believe how unprofessional people were -- he was used to a New York standard. (Other people have also told me there is a big difference between the auditioning processes here and there. Makes sense, I guess.) Anyway, Hank lost his taste for entertainment and got into food and beverage. If I got to cast the Sopranos, he'd definitely be one of Tony's men.

(Left to right: Hank, who hates to have his picture taken, and Alberto.)

Alberto, next to Hank in the picture above, was always our favorite waiter when we were customers. He's so sweet and kind. He would always recite the specials in a way that seemed like he was suffering from performance anxiety. When he finished and you ordered off the regular menu, he always seemed a little disappointed, maybe even annoyed that you made him go through the torture. I hated disappointing him so I would look to Sam to take a dive into something exotic just so Alberto would feel like he did a good job selling.

Alberto speaks 5 languages including American Sign Language. After a long night at Vito he likes to go home, hop in the shower and then go out dancing. He's always on a diet and never mixes carbs with protein but he sometimes shoves a piece of Chocolate Mocha Crunch Cake down his gullet when no one is looking. But please never mention that to him if you sit in his section. He'd kill me.

1 comment:

rustyboy said...

Upon moving out here a decade back, I noticed this from the get-go: Waiters in Los Angeles seem bothered by your business. Their attitudes tend to scream, "YOU DO REALIZE THAT I WAS IN A MCDONALD'S SPOT LAST YEAR AT THIS TIME, RIGHT? SCREW YOU IF YOU WANT ME TO BE PLEASANT - I MADE $40,000 OFFA THAT THING."

I love waiters who love their jobs. And barkeeps too. Sounds like you fall into this category.