My plan was to write numerous remarkable ‘what’s new’ posts. I was to highlight the precious and longtime GT family individually. But time, procrastination and the sheer weight and energy it takes to write a “what’s new” prevented this plan from reaching fruition. So, instead, one piece, with all of us piled in it. Seems kind of appropriate.
Over the years you have all known my father and partner Tony. I could not have asked for a better partner in this venture. You most likely have also known my teacher in all things hospitality, my mother, Sylvia. No Good Table would ever exist without them. Ever. I could not be more grateful for the lessons, the work ethic and the joy in producing a good product that they have taught me.
My niece and partner Jessica Kostopoulos is often the unsung hero of the restaurant. She grew up here, born just months after the restaurant first opened. She started by setting tables and coming to the restaurant after school to help her Papou crack eggs. Recently at my father’s 90th birthday party, one of our original servers/cooks reminisced about teaching Jessi to set tables, she said “you must have been around 6 or 7 years old”. She was in fact only 4. Jessica said to me later, “I was always given responsibility, even at a young age”. She is the oldest of 6 siblings and became the child in charge as a child. All of her brothers and sisters have cut their teeth here at the restaurant. And now her daughter Lexi works here, sometimes against her will! Jessi was The GT guinea pig, the first busser, food runner, back up hostess, first expeditor, general manager and eventually only the second female chef after me.
Working with my niece for all these years has been simply the best. I always expected more from her than anyone else, perhaps because I always expected more from myself, too. It has been trying for both of us at times but all these years later we are a well oiled machine, from writing menus to fixing broken ‘stuff’, we are a fine team. Recently the kitchen was having ‘a day’. It was hot, busy, people were cranky and it was a Wednesday, the day the blackboard specials roll out, a hard day for sure. Sparks flew and the kitchen temporarily fell apart. After she and I put all things right, banged out a ton of food, prepared the specials, (there might have been a broken ice machine in there somewhere), I was leaving the kitchen and I turned and pointed at her with both barrels and proclaimed, “You’re a rockstar”. She looked at me, “No, you’re a rockstar”. It has been a supreme honor to work with this rockstar. We would not be standing with out her tenacity, grace, fierceness, tastebuds and loyalty. All of us, family, coworkers, and friends of the restaurant owe her a huge debt of gratitude.
The kitchen, my kitchen. There have been many chefs, sous chefs, kitchen managers, line cooks, pantry cooks, bakers, dishwashers, prep cooks; no one has been more valuable than Elton Elwell, best known as Danny, eggman, the muffin man, cranky pants, etc. Danny has been with us for more than 25 years. Seriously. He has single handedly made most of the Haddock and Clam Chowder over the years. Tony’s Cornbeef Hash, Danny. Every over easy egg, every Pancake, Tuna Melt, Grilled Turkey Cheddar and Chutney Sandwich, all Danny. Even when we had a brief parting of ways, Danny still came and cooked Sunday brunch. He takes great pleasure in his regular breakfast customers and opens the door every Saturday morning. He knows their regular orders by heart and will question the servers if they’ve missed something. He has called out sick maybe half a dozen times in his career here. While we’ve had our ‘words’ over the years we have reached a place of mutual respect and understanding of what we both contribute to The GT. He is consistent, fast as hell, and truly, truly a caring kind man. He is pure gold. Again, I swear we would not be standing, at least as well, without Danny, and the infamous Sunday brunch would barely exist without him.
Over the years we have had our share of chefs, the good, bad and indifferent. There are three that standout. Steve Merrill. Steve started early on with us and taught me a lot. I knew very little about running a kitchen at that time. I was young and thought I knew more than I did, he was generous and kind, and a fine friend. John St Germain is the second. John worked part time for us on and off for years, then after the fire he became our chef. John took The Good Table to places I had only imagined we could go. With John came our New Years Eve and Valentine’s celebrations, inspired Blackboard Specials and our beer and wine dinners. Our Blueberry and Apple Pie salads remain his legacy. And lastly, my personal favorite, to this day, Ryan Weeks. This was Ryan’s first chef position, he was incredibly talented and hard working, he was with us for 13 years. I loved cooking beside Ryan, we created and grew together as cooks. We were young and we worked tirelessly, adding Sunday Suppers and Honey Dinners to the mix. He was my favorite teacher and I thank him from the bottom of my heart. When he left (he still pinch hits 2 nights a week) we tried on a few chefs, none fit and we collectively, as a kitchen, decided to do it as a team. We’ve done well with the help of an amazing, devoted and dedicated crew. We could not have done it without the pinch hitters who work full-time jobs and come in for dinner service to get everyone fed. You have my undying gratitude. And to the current crew who is working with us now, you are making this the best ending ever.
So, the bakers. Everyone knows we have always had the best of the best here at The GT. Adrienne Grabowski is our current head baker of 8 years. Adrienne has been my right hand women from the start. Besides amazing sweets, she is our kitchen manager who schedules, orders, works the line, consoles and generally keeps us all on task, best as she can. She has jumped in and learned how to cook on the breakfast line, running the ever busy brunch line and frying food on a busy dinner service. She has been fearless and priceless. She is steady and sturdy, loyal and smart. I admire her talent so much. I will miss her and our little corner in the back of the kitchen. We have spent a lot of time dancing together in that corner.
Adrienne’s sidekick over the years has been Ali Hager, who was lead baker at one time, and now bakes on days we’re closed and pinch hits. She is a gem and has come to our rescue more times than I can recall. I have been blessed to have worked beside these amazing women. Over the years I have become friends with numerous bakers at the restaurant. The sweets department has always been a place to play and to dream up tasty treats while selling up to 60 pieces of pie daily! To name our beloved bakers over the years would be too hard, but if you are reading this, you KNOW who you are. You hold a place in our hearts, and damn, I’ll miss your cheesecake. Thank you for being the most fantastic group of women.
Kaylin. If you know The Good Table, you know Kaylin Weeks. She has been the face of our restaurant for many, many years. She knows your name, what you like to drink, how you like your eggs, she knows your children’s names, where they went to school, she charms your grandchildren and treats your elders with tender loving care. Kaylin has worked tirelessly to make everyone who walks through our doors feel at home. The hospitality and warmth we started so many years ago Kaylin has maintained and grown. She has brought up a lot of young women, giving them a great start on their careers. She has created a space for her fellow workers to feel safe and take pride in their jobs. Whenever, over her many years here, we needed help, prep cooking, dishwashing, running errands, she jumped in with no prompting. She is the definition of a team player. I’m sure most of you can’t imagine your lives without her, neither can I.
Over the years we have had some of the best servers, bussers, hosts and food runners in the trade. I like to think we gave them the a sense of working as a team, a strong work ethic and pride in their jobs. We have watched many start their own businesses, grow families, and reach glorious heights. Again, too many to name, but you know who you are. Thank you for helping us become the place we are today. Your love and hard work, through those beginning years, fire and pandemic, held us up, kept us moving forward. Thank you.
This has been my life’s work. What a journey it has been. I can honestly say, I’ve never been bored here, not a single day. I started out just knowing how to throw a good dinner party to then throwing grand ones at The Good Table Restaurant. I am grateful for all of you who have graced our tables. I know this is hard on all of you, trust me, it is equally hard for us. You have been kind and generous, forgiving us our mistakes, and always the best cheerleaders we could’ve asked for. It has been an honor being part of your lives. Feeding someone is so intimate, an act of love and caring, it has been our pleasure to feed you all these years. Thank you, I’ve had the time of my life.
my love and appreciation,