Leaving on a Jet Plane

I’m flying out to Kansas City this afternoon. The nice people over at the Kansas City Public Library (the Missouri one) invited me to participate in their program “Order Up! Takes from the Dining Room.”

The event will be held Tuesday, August 5, at 6:30 p.m. in the Truman Forum at the Plaza Branch, 4801 Main St., Kansas City MO. If you’re a  Waiter Rant reader and live in the area, I’d love to see you there!

Almost forgot, I’ll also be speaking on the Walt Bodine Show that same day between 10:00 and 11:00 a.m.

Well. I’ve got to pack and get to the airport. I’m looking forward to a real Kansas City steak dinner tonight! It’s my first time being in that part of the country. I’ll try posting from the road, but things are very hectic right now! Busy busy! Wish me luck!


Comments

Leaving on a Jet Plane — 81 Comments

  1. My husband, an avowed 15%er, is reading your book and enjoying it. I noticed last night he left a nice 20% tip. See what good you’ve done?!

  2. Dear Steve,
    I finished your magnificent book within 48 hours of picking it up. I shared it with another priest who loved the sections I read from. I have the plan to send my copy to an obnoxious priest friend of mine who is a terror at restaurants.

  3. Here’s a message I tried to leave you earlier, but in the wrong place.
    Congrats btw and best of luck. You deserve it. HAVE FUN!!! Here’s the message:
    I believe the key word here is CIVILization. ‘Jerks’ are not acting in a civil manner. As a 60+ grey haired, little old lady, who always dines alone, and always at nice restaurants, you’d expect
    that I would be labeled a ’10%er’ or worse. But I almost always get perfect service.
    I go to NYC each year from Florida specifically for the plays and food. I am a retired chef and always make reservations (letting them know I am a visiting chef from out of town…some places don’t want to make res for singles) for the first hour of dinner, as I need to get to my show. As I am usually the first seated, they try to give me one of their better tables, but I opt for the lesser view, 2 top, telling the waiter he may need the better one for someone that ‘must’ have it. (This just might be the key to why I get such good service. Waiters love ‘understanding’ customers.
    Yes, I order ‘just water’, but it is not to ‘save money’. I just don’t want to drink wine before the show, and I don’t do well with caffine.
    Here’s a tip for waiters that I didn’t even know until I got old. Most older people can’t eat as much as they used to. I used to eat like a horse, and now can’t finish my entree if I get an appetiser…one of the things I HATE about being older. And I can’t take ‘delicious smelling’ doggie bags to the theater. I am consious of plumping up the check, so I try to order a dessert to go, if they have a good chocolate something (that won’t smell), for after the show.
    Throughout the meal, I say ‘please’ ‘thankyou’ ‘no hurry’ and am never demanding. The only thing I do that might be considered demanding is if I order 3 or 4 apps instead of an entree’, I ask that they serve the ‘less spicy’ ones first. Btw, that ‘apps’ check will always be more than if I’d just ordered an entree’.
    Only twice have I tipped under the norm (it used to be 10%, then 15% and now 20%) and that was to a very bad waiter &/or very bad and RUDE waiter. I would never base a tip on the quality of food…that gets a mention to the mgr if very bad. Face it folks, mistakes are made by humans (even chefs, hehe), everyone has a bad day, gets ‘in the weeds’, etc.
    So, be at least ‘civil’ to your wait person, and you’ll never have to fear for the contents of your dinner.
    And to you wait persons out there, in various large cities…when you see a grey-haired lady, with res for 1, under the name of Sam *****, I generally tip 20%, I don’t ‘dwaddle’, and am usually not demanding. I don’t eat a lot, but it is not because I’m ‘cheap’. I know what you guys go through and appreciate every bit of it.
    I do a review on line of each restaurant I visit, and am glad to give good ones. I look forward to dining at your restaurants…look forward to seating me.

  4. I just saw you on Today last week and can’t wait to pick up your book! I live in KC – it’s not a “rough and dirty town”. Welcome!

  5. I have always lived in the outskirts of KCMO, and it has some really great areas, and like any other town, a hairy armpit or two. I think you’ll have a great time, and meet great people. I will try to make my way down to the Library and get a look at ya myself. I will have to say what made me want to post a reply was your mentioning wanting a great steak. I work as a server at Sullivan’s Steakhouse, 119th and Roe, and we just opened this last week. Man oh man, the steaks are amazing….you should come try us out!

  6. Good call, Waiter. The Midwest has the best beef around. Come to Chicago sometime, hit up a chophouse or ribshack, grab a Chicago-style hot dog with all the trimmings, or just grab a nice beer by the lake. You have lots of fans here!

  7. dammit! I have other plans tomorrow night! arrgghh.

    yeah, you need bbq, not steak, but if you MUST have steak, go to Plaza III, on the plaza (natch). For bbq, either Arthur Bryant’s or Jack Stack.

  8. One of the best steak dinners I can remember was at the Golden Ox in Kansas City. It’s in the old Kansas City Stock Exchange building… named in the days when Stock Exchange meant where livestock was traded. When the steakhouse first opened, they could go pick a steer out back in the morning for that night’s dinner. Gorgeous old wood, excellent bar, very competent and friendly service.

  9. Sam, you sound like a customer that any server would be privileged to have! Thanks for taking good care of the people who take good care of you.

  10. I’m sorry I’ll miss you-I moved from Kansas City a month ago to the East Coast.

    I’ve got one major suggestion for you: Fiorella’s Jack Stack Barbeque-it’s the best barbeque place in town, and they have the best steaks in town, too! They use Certified Angus Beef for their steaks, and they smoke their Prime Rib-it’s to die for. I’ve had steaks from some of the fancier places in town, but I’ve never had anything that came even close to what they can do with meat!

    Enjoy the town-it’s friendly, and the Plaza is one of the prettiest areas!

  11. hi steve. I just get to know about you 2 weeks ago by accident. I was browsing books at a local bookstore and noticed your book just as I was about to leave. It is one of the greatest discovery of my life concerning literature. I did not buy your book right away but keep in mind to visit your website. I read most of your blogs in 1 week and then bought your book and finished it within 24 hours.
    I can identify with your rant being in the food service industry for almost a decade working from stand alone restaurants, hotels, ships and resorts. Ive been all over the world and have served customers from all walks of life from most countries.
    Thank you very much steve. You make me proud to be doing what I am doing.You made me discover that there is pride ( a thing that I have lost) serving food and drinks.
    You are a great writer and please continue doing whatever you are doing. You deserve all the success that you are getting. You write beautifully.

  12. Maybe someone should create a ‘customer black list’ for pos reservation software with categaories for ‘bad tippers’(less thann 15%), ‘assh****’, ‘commandos’, ‘dwaddlers’, etc. with a number beside their name that increases each time someone complains. So when they try to make a reservation, if they only have a ’1′ or ’2′, maybe it was due to bad night, but, hey, double digits??? only give them a less busy time and certainly not your best tables (and for the waddlers…never a late res.) For the bad tippers you could have little cards printed up to place on their tables before they arrive or slipped inside the menu…20% gratuity will be included. And then just include it IF we can’t change the customer, at least we could make it more bareable for the staff.
    What do you guys think? Anybody know a computer geek out there who could design something like that? The info could come from their credit card info.

  13. But I just thought of a problem with that. What about duplicate names? Maybe we’d have to ask for more info when making a reservation?
    Like hometown or zip code. And if they were walk-ins, ask for their zip code when they give you their card. Orders online sometime require that.
    Also maybe the pos could be connected to a black list blog so alll restaurants’ pos would have access to it instantly when a reservation was trying to be made and also as soon as the walk out having gotten ‘updated’.
    I know of some folks that would have triple digits in no time.

  14. Man, the one blogger I read with any regularity comes to my hometown and I´m on six month study abroad in argentina. Ive always admired your work, sir, I picked up reading you when I worked in a trendy-chinese place.

    Steaks alright, but fuck it, eat barbecue. but one piece of advice. Oklahoma Joe´s Barbecue. Remember that, Oklahoma Fucking Joe´s. Best barbecue in the city. You know its authentic because its in gas station. 47th and mission road. Eat it for me, and avoid bourgeouis imitators (jack stack).

    Trendy, cheap restaurants at 39th and state line, I kitchened expoed at a suburban reinvention of one. Try to get off the plaza and see the real city. Westport, west bottoms have personality.

  15. Ah, my home town. Living on the beach in San Diego is fantastic, but while you’re in KC, I highly recommend the following spots: Harry’s Bar and Tables. Fantastic bar for servers. Jeremy will take great care of you. Fiorella’s Jack Stack, Oklahoma Joe’s and Gates. Best barbecue on the planet. For a steak and especially a great bottle of wine, JJ’s is where it’s at. The 2000 bottle French and Napa heavy list is very popular with New Yorkers and West Coasters on business trips, who are always astounded at how cheap they can pick up great vintages of Burgundies and Bordeaux. Other than that for steak, Plaza III is wonderful as well. Also, almost every one of these places is less than a $5 cab ride from the library.
    If you want to make it an all nighter, get in any cab and have them take you to The Foundation. They have been around since before prohibition, and they never stopped serving from midnight until the sun comes up to the backdrop of live jazz.
    Seriously, if there’s just about anything you want to do in that city, I still have great contacts. Let me know.

  16. That’s a nice area of KC. Folks are friendly. There’s a cool jazz club (Jardine’s) on that part of Main St. The art museum is nearby. Have a good time!

  17. Your reading at the library will be my last stop of my honeymoon! We just got married Saturday and Tuesday is the last day my husband is off; he’ll be at home, but I’m making the 10 minutes trek to the Plaza library to see you read, can’t wait! And I am so jealous you get to go on the Walt Bodine show; that guy is a living legend ’round these parts. Finally, you can’t miss going to Figlios on the plaza. It’s on 47th and Broadway and even though it’s italian, it’s one of my favorite places in KC to eat.

  18. there is an ethiopian restaurant right by the KC Mo Library…it’s on stateline dr. up towards the kansas border, ethiopian buffet, great for lunch, cheap, and absolutely astoundingly delicious. you will not regret walking over there one day. it’s about 5 mins from the library.

  19. You should have KC BBQ…Arthur Bryants is the most (locally) famous, just be sure someone takes you to the original location! Try the Burnt Ends…a KC invention.

    But if you must have a steak, try the Majestic.

  20. KC has great BBQ, great steaks and great Italian, it is a foodies tri-fecta. For Italian try the Original Garrozzo’s on Harrison, or Jasper’s on 103rd. I am partial to Plaza III for steaks, although nicer than some, it is not a “nouveau riche steakhouse”, it has been around for decades and I have never had a bad meal there. Lastly BBQ, Arthur Bryant’s is tough to beat, but you have to go to the original if you can, although in kind of a rough area. Gates comes in a close second but for goodness sakes, DO NOT go to the KC Masterpiece restaurant. If you have time you MUST go to the Nelson Gallery of Art, their modern art wing is to die for… and for dessert, my favorite chocolatier, Panache Chocolates on the Plaza cannot be beat. Good luck and have fun!!!

  21. Hi Waiter. Your is the only blog I have ever reguarly read and I just bought your book. (It was in the cooking section of a NC Books a Million) Congrats on all of your success, you have earned it. I hope you enjoy every second. Thanks for all of the sharing and insight.

  22. You’re comin’ to my town! I would like to meet you and shake your hand but I picked up a shift on Tuesday night :| I’ll listen to Walt’s show though.

    If you can make it to Arthur Bryant’s, do so. A beef sandwich and fries is all you need. The flavor will taunt your palate all day, making you detour for seconds.

    If you’re going for a steak, I love the Hereford House but you can’t really miss, wherever you go.

    Big congrats on your success!

  23. Hi, Steve. It’s great to see your cute face – love your smile – am so glad it is not a pic of the 1000 mile stare! I’ve seen that before on others, and boy it can be intimidating!

    Wanted you to know you also made it on to The Insider, an ET like show on one of the networks. I think it was Saturday evening, when they talked about a book that details how infested restaurants were. Then, they followed up that story with a brief recap of your book, showing the cover. I’m so glad to see you getting such publicity. Enjoy it. From a former waitress who now aspires to leave office work one day for the arts – you give us all hope! Thank you for all your hard work and entertaining blog. Much luck to you!

  24. I couldn’t sleep last night and picked up your book where I’d left off. I couldn’t stop laughing at the Squirel part. My wife is also reading the book, at first she thought I was crying, but when she saw me reading the book, she said “oh, you got to the squirel part”. I ended up waking up both kids.

    I’m surprised no one has mentioned getting Lamb Burnt Ends at any of the Jack Stack BBQ places; might be a special. Enjoy KC.

  25. I just finished your book. It made me laugh out loud and I found myself teary when you wrote about the woman on the bench outside the restaurant. Beautifully written and a wonderful perspective on human behavior.

  26. I look forward to meeting you. I wrote you a short fan e-mail when I first discovered your blog, I mentioned you write “f— you lines” if that rings any bells.

    Don’t worry, we Kansas City-ians…City-ites…whatever. Those of us from Kansas City aren’t insane…we just take our steak and BBQ VERY seriously (I vote Jack Stack for BBQ).

  27. Waiter, have a blast where I grew up! I do miss KC as it’s a sleeper esp. when it comes to the food. The best steak in town was Ralph Gaines’ The Colony Steakhouse [on Broadway] but unfortunately it’s only a memory now [his kids inherited it, "improved" it and subsequently ran it into the ground]. Another place I used to enjoy for BBQ (besides Gate’s) was Rosedale BBQ in KCK [Kansas City, Kansas]–I believe they’re still there. Stroud’s for Pan Fried Chicken used to be good (I believe they’re still there). For Mexican, either Manny’s [my FAV] or Los Corrales (YUM!) [both downtown]!
    If you get home sick and want a KICK ASS Italian Deli Sandwich don’t miss Da Bronx on 39th Street–their #1 is da bomb!

    If you want the finest Italian Sausage ever made on Planet Earth visit Scimeca’s off of Admiral Blvd:

    http://www.scimecassausage.com/

    I could go on and on…..

    Have a BLAST!

  28. Oh Waiter! I almost forgot–since you’ll be on the Plaza be sure to stop in Winstead’s for a hamburger (they’re a KC institution)–they’re insanely delicious! If you get downtown and get a hankerin’ for a greasy spoon joint don’t miss Town Topic–their greasy chili is out of this world!

  29. Hey Waiter!
    I grew up in KC, and Walt Bodine was one of my college profs. Glad he’s still around. Have a great time! KC rocks!
    Christie (now in Austin, which also rocks in case you didn’t know!)

  30. Waiter…I mean Steve :)

    I’ve been reading your blog for about a year, and picked up the book as soon as I was able. I finished it in a day. It was fantastic!

    But now, I’m sad. I’m hoping that you will take your insights, reflections and observations and continue to chronicle what you see and what you learn along the way. I wasn’t ready to “say goodbye” yet.
    I hope you are having an incredible time.

  31. Have enjoyed reading all the love people are sending you, you so deserve it. Please, Please, come up to Anchorage….I know, it’s not realistic. We don’t get too many author’s other than locals, & the occasional academic. Alaskans would love you. We get tourists, so lots of servers here. I worked in food service much of my life, but never as a wait person. I don’t have what it takes. Read your book within a few hours, felt sad when it was over. Please keep writing!

  32. The highlight of my day was getting your book in the mail! I still can’t believe that after all these years it’s finally out. Thank you so much for entertaining us for so long.

  33. Steve!
    I am so happy for you. Brother it has been a long time since serving a parmesan basket of lettuce and cheap procuitto together.
    I have continued marching forward with my wine career and now work for one of the biggest wineries in napa. still living in Rockland and am very happy. Still acting frequently and and very happy about life in general.
    Congratulations on all your success and I hope this message of finds you. Cheers! Who’s the bologna head now, Mumbles?!

  34. dude, its been like 6 posts since you posted a story. If your not going to post anything worth reading, i might as well stop coming here and wasting my time.

  35. Waiter,

    I am oh so very proud of you. I feel like we grew up together! (well, you as a blogger/author and me… literally, haha.) I was only 16 when I started reading, and to MEET you three years later, surrounded by hundreds of fans and media and hooplah, well, I kinda felt like a proud mama hen! Enjoy the success, you deserve it.

    Shanna

  36. I tried to pick up my copy of Waiter Rant on the 29th but of course they said I had to wait for the shipment to come in.

    I almost jumped for joy, when the call came from Barnes & Noble that my reserved copy was in. I picked it up today and I can’t wait to read it.

    I can only hope your book tour brings you to Raleigh NC so I can get my first edition signed.

    Daniel – Long time blog reader

  37. Hi Waiter, picked up your book on Thursday and couldn’t put it down over the weekend. Damn cottage activities got in the way (drinking, smoking, napping, Trivial Pursuit) but now I’m going to sit my ass on the couch and finish it :)

  38. Pingback: Mental Images

  39. i hope your book is available here is singapore. if you’re ever coming over for any promos, i’ll be sure to catch ya.

  40. All good luck to you. Husband and I have already devoured the book and LOVED it!
    Can’t wait for the next one! (hint)

  41. Thank you so much for coming to Kansas City. I really enjoyed hearing you at the library last night. I was really impressed with your handling of some of the questions. Hope you had a nice time in KC and got some great BBQ!

  42. Steve,
    Great that you were in KC
    Sorry I had to miss it.
    My mom was a server for 44 years and both worked at the Golden Ox and Opened Plaza III on Christmas day 1963.
    She would love you!!!
    Good luck
    Glenn

  43. Thanks for signing my book and I hope you enjoyed our town! It would have been my pleasure to wait on you, but I thought I’d take the night off to hear you speak instead. It was awesome. Thanks again.

    -girl in front row with pink hair

  44. I really enjoyed your book–I thought it would repeat the blog, but it was more and less–more about you (great) and less about some of the cool stories you have on your blog. I am looking forward to your next book. I can’t believe someone told you in college that you couldn’t write. Talent as big as yours shines. Best wishes. P.S. Have you submitted any stories to magazines? Short story contests? Sorry, I’m greedy–I want more. I would hate for you to be pigeonholed into The Waiter–I hear so much more in your voice.

  45. Just finished the book – glad to see there is no Australia bashing – I wasn’t sure if you were going to go there, but I’m glad you didn’t. Australians are pretty nice people except for the fact they speak Australian.

  46. Got my book in the mail from Amazon yesterday, and stayed up ’til 3am reading – paying for that at work today, but it’s worth it!

    Thank you for sharing this book, which invokes laughter, tears, and anger as one reads about the different experiences you have had. What I found most moving is in spite of some of your experiences, you’ve not become jaded. You have a kind heart. The way you treated people who really needed some human kindness brought me to tears.

  47. On the ranting waiter, Steven Dublanica…….

    There I was one morning last week working away on my computer while Today’s Mat Lauer interviewed some waiter who’d……..well if you’re reading this you know Mat was interviewing the author of Waiter Rant, Steve Dublanica. I didn’t hear the entire interview, and kind of didn’t want to as my husband and I dine out on an average of five nights a week. Who needed to be reminded of a mean spirited waiter gone bad, deed to haunt my next dining experience.

    What captured my attention was not the topic but the waiter himself. I thought I’ve seen this guy; he must have waited on me. Nah, probably not (assuming he was from NYC and reporting on NYC restaurants where I pop around rather than frequent a restaurant) Over the next few days the story haunted me. Where did I know this face from, and why was it somehow negative? And then, along came the article by Linda Lombrosco. Ah ha!!!!!! I could hardly wait to show the article to my husband. He asked me over dinner the evening before if I’d heard about the disgusting waiter who toots on food or over people’s shoulders. No thank you dear, I had not.

    As mentioned earlier we enjoy dining out and do so more nights than not due to our work schedules. Traveling to many regions around the country and other countries also provides unlimited opportunities to experience and explore the world of food and restaurants. I bring this to your attention simply to say we’re not unfamiliar with sophisticated restaurants, protocol, table manners, tipping, and treating the wait staff with respect. All that said, we too cringe when someone upon being seated in a lovely restaurant immediately places their cell phone alongside the silverware, as though it was necessary to the dining experience itself. And about those folks who think everyone wants a table visit from their little one, and we should all be perfectly capable of tuning out the child who is having a tantrum to the point the crystal glasses dance on the table. That’s another story.

    Let me get back to telling my husband about what I’d just read. “Honey, remember that waiter from Lanturna we couldn’t stand to have wait on us”? “Well let me think” he said. There’s the guy who is always up beat, a nice guy, who we always think might also be an actor or something. Then there is the sweet Latin waitress who walks with Geisha type tiny steps……and the only other waiter that comes to mind is that obnoxious one, you remember, with the pompous attitude”. BINGO !!!!!!! EXACTLY !!!! Steven Dublanica is that obnoxious pompous waiter and authors the waiter rant. Relating our own experience to this waiter turned author,Dublanica, I can’t help but think many of the poor experiences he had with diners was a direct result of his own smug persona.

    2

    My husband and I can be tough restaurant critics. Paying anywhere from an average of $90 a night for dinner weeknights, we very much expect good and fresh food along with professional and friendly service and get it 99% of the time in Nyack and Piermont restaurants. The only negative vibe we’ve ever experienced locally was around Steven Dublanica. Not that he had done anything to us, at least not to our knowledge. Dublanica consistently exuded an air of arrogance as though he was some lost royalty who awoke one day finding himself somehow thrust in the role of a waiter, far below his intended lot in life. Our small villages are blessed with proud professional and down to earth waiters and waitresses Dublanica could not begin to hold a candle to including the staff at Lanturna.

    After having Dublanica serve us a few times my husband and I would silently observe where his section was and request, even wait for a table available in another section. One evening Delanie who considers himself a professional waiter, arrived at work, or back to work while we were comfortably seated at the rear of the restaurant on the banquette sitting side by side enjoying a cocktail before dinner. Enter Dublanica from the men’s room, unbuttoning a well worn shirt as he paraded past us toward the rear podium, where he stood in clear view of our table removing his shirt and slipping into another for work as though he was in his own apartment with no one around. Oh yeah, real professional Steven. Hello Steven !!!! There’s the downstairs where you put the coats, or the men’s room where should be changing clothes. Now really !!!!! This was far more than we needed to see under any circumstances much less before dinner. My husband and I were appalled. A waitress passed and rolled her eyes in acknowledgment when she caught our eye. You can bet owner Rosario was not in that evening. He runs a tight ship.

    Observing the shirt strip (thank God he didn’t plan to change his pants), talking down to female staff, the haughty attitude we simply didn’t care to have Dublancia wait our table.

    Wish I could now forget the time when Dublancia delivered the wrong drink to our table He probably punished us somehow for his mistake.. We still left our typical 20% tip although undeserved.

    Waiter replies – You madam, are part of the entitled and sociopathic 20% of the dining public I wrote about. If I gave you a hard time it’s because you and your husband probably deserved it. Ciao!

  48. is it ever proper for an owner to accept a tip after havinfg served a duce? The waiter didn’t have a party had not had one.

  49. Hey KC Girl!

    Tell me about Sullivans!
    I’m thinking of moving to Chicago
    and apply at Sullivans on Dearborn!

    Do the servers make good $$$ at Sullivans?
    Is it busy and packed on holidays like other
    restaurants?

    Any feedback would be awesome!

    Thanks

    noodles

  50. Hey KC Girl!

    Tell me about Sullivans!
    I’m thinking of moving to Chicago
    and apply at Sullivans on Dearborn!

    Do the servers make good $$$ at Sullivans?
    Is it busy and packed on holidays like other
    restaurants …that usually book up/sell out
    on new years and such?

    Any feedback would be awesome!

    Thanks

    noodles

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