Posted by: Rae | October 2, 2007

Micky Mouse Up

I’m new to the restaurant business. Never even worked in a restaurant until I bought the old “Acorn Cafe” and turned it into the Alcove. I’ve been keeping a journal of sorts about the experience, and was planning to write a book from it. So I started to think about how blogs and books differ … you’ve all thought about this, too, and heard experts drone on about it … anyway, I’m intrigued. So blog it is. I’m going to write about things that happen in the restaurant, just little stories in no particular order. Hope you enjoy.

When the Alcove first opened in April of this year (2007), I had a kitchen crew that included a chef and a couple of prep cooks. One of the guys, Darren, had been a friend of my daughter’s in high school. Darren was a bit of a screw-up, which in our small town means he’s had a few drug or alcohol-related arrests, fooled around with a lot of girls, probably wrecked his car, and been awarded a “bad reputation” by the high school teachers who preside over such things. But he’s smart, witty, charming, cute, … you know the type. A good-hearted guy who was labeled early by a town that won’t forget, ever.

The old Acorn had a menu item called “Micky Mouse pancakes,” three pancakes overlapping to make the head and ears, and two raisins for eyes. In the first month or so of business customers frequently came in not realizing that the restaurant was new, and requested their old favorites. One morning a family sat down and an imperious seven year old announced “I want the Micky Mouse pancakes.” We explained that this was a new restaurant, the menu had changed, and that although we didn’t have Micky Mouse Pancakes, we had several great children’s breakfast items. No sale. This kid wanted his pancakes. So the waitress walked back to the kitchen and said “do you think you could make Micky Mouse pancakes?”

Darren jumped up. “I’ll make them. I make these all the time.” I was relieved, the waitress was relieved, and we went about our business. Ten minutes later Darren called from the kitchen, “Micky Mouse up!” We all ran out to see the pancakes (not sure why — must have been a really slow morning). Darren’s Micky Mouse pancake was made of three circles, each about nine inches across. The “ears” didn’t even fit on the plate — they hung over onto the counter. When we stopped laughing, one of us (maybe me, can’t remember now) went into the kitchen and started over. Darren was so offended he walked out.

That night I told the story at family dinner and my cousin gave me an old blue Buggs Bunny waffle maker she’d used when her kids were small. I took it to the restaurant and we presented it to Darren with a bit of ceremony, which of course offended him again. What the heck had he been thinking?

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