In partnership with Epicurious, Bon Appetit, and their Out of the Kitchen Series focusing on personal service, I am writing a piece that describes my own experiences with above-and-beyond personal service.
“Where everybody knows your name . . .”
I never really fully understood the draw of sitting at a bar like in the T.V. show Cheers until my husband Bryan and I started becoming regulars at Bergamot, a new American restaurant a 20-minute walk from our house.
A typical night when we arrive goes something like this . . .
We walk in the door. Dave is working front of the house tonight and greets us by name with hugs.
“The bar’s wide open tonight. Pick any seat.”
At the bar, bartender Paul is already stirring the drink that Bryan always gets – an off menu bourbon-based drink that he had crafted for Bryan the first time we had come. “Make me something bourbon-based” Bryan had requested, and the Elisabetta was born.
“Old Faithful again?” he asks, referring to the drink that Bryan always gets.
Bryan smiles, “of course.”
“I took the liberty of starting it since you had called saying you were coming” Paul says with a twinkle in his eye.
Later on Bryan confesses to me that half of the fun of always getting the Elisabetta is just the fact that it’s especially made for him. It’s his drink. There’s something about the personal service that makes the drink feel even more special than it would otherwise.
“And I already have the boys working on your nine oysters.”
Spot on. We always get nine raw oysters between us to share if it’s a Sunday or a Monday night, when oysters are only $1 at the bar. Paul also knows that we both like sparkling water, so he’s already set out two glasses for us.
As we sip on our drinks and peruse the menu, we debate about what to get.
“I’m kind of in the mood for something warm tonight, like a soup.”
“How about we get the scallops and the salmon and we can share?”
“Gosh, I can’t decide between the gnocchi, the soup, and the Brussels sprouts. They all look so good. Which two should we get as starters?”
As it turns out, there was no need to stress about it. Like magic, the kitchen sends out the Brussels sprouts (the one item that we didn’t order), “compliments of the house.”
The food is always fantastic at Bergamot. Chefs Keith, Dan, and Scott really know what they’re doing. I love how they change up the menu frequently enough that we are never bored even if we visit three to four times a month. The prices are also very reasonable – I personally think it’s one of the best values in the entire Boston area.
Of course, we also like going because we feel like we are visiting friends. They know us like our friends do. They remember what we like, don’t like, and what we did last week. This is the ultimate level of service and it’s why we continue to return. At the end of the day, we love visiting Bergamot because they make us feel special – just like our friends do.
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Want to meet purveyors who are making a difference with their customers? Check out BonAppetit.com’s “Out of the Kitchen”, an ongoing exploration of the relationships that build and sustain the food industry. See how hyper-local food markets operate and how their focus on quality and service keep customers coming back for more.