There are certain times I am compelled to stop and say “Thank you” to warm, kind people in the restaurant and inn-keeping businesses. Naturally, since it is the “hospitality” business, we should expect to be treated with a definite warmth and kindness at all times, I am acknowledging instances where the extrais so obvious! I would like to share three recent occurrences:
First up: The Bridge Street Inn and Sun House Restaurant at the very beginning of Anna Maria Island. I had met mother/daughter team Barbara and Angela Rodocker several years ago and immediately liked their spirit and true sense of caring for the island. It’s no wonder a swim on Bradenton Beach often leads to a few appetizers and a complimentary “green flash” shot while the staff rings the gong and everyone, young and old, breaks into a rendition of “You are my sunshine” at sunset. This Rodocker genuineness emanates throughout the resort (inn and restaurant), as kindness, simplicity and regard are very visible. Sort of like a Bradenton Beach version of Margaritaville. It’s no coincidence that it comes from the top.
A green flash and an order of dumplings is a traditions for sunsetters.
Next: Big Olaf’s Ice Cream on Bahia Vista. We stopped in the other night for a soft serve. While the machine seemed to be slowing down the double swirl process, the kind young man at the counter insisted on only charging us for a kiddie cone (which in my world is the perfect size anyway), feeling he had slightly shorted us in the soft vanilla cone. His comments were “I insist” and “I apologize for the wait,” which was about one minute at best.
Service as good as their giant soft serve.
Finally: Café Italia up on Fruitville Road is another example. It’s an old, reliable culinary favorite, and I had a hankering for their wonderful veal Parmesan. We called for a takeout and inquired about the $29.99 dinner for two as an option. Since when you dine in the restaurant this special menu includes house wine and is not legal for takeout, they offered us a dessert, which was our preference anyway. The veal Parmesans were enormous, including the wonderful house salad with balsamic dressing and plenty of Mama’s homemade bread and garlic oil for dipping. Well, no big deal, they forgot the dessert—it happens. (I still had half my dinner left over for another meal anyway.) But sure enough, within an hour the server from Café Italia called apologizing that he had forgotten to pack the dessert and promised us desserts “on the house” when we returned.
Veal Parm from Cafe Italia…ahhh, just like Little Italy.
True service in all three above.
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