Saturday, March 01, 2008

Shared Dining

Last night Steve and I went to dinner at one of our favorite new restaurants -- La Scola. We happen to know the owners but that's not what this is about.

Our food was tasty -- but that's not what this is about.

The ambiance was warm and inviting -- but that's not what this is about.

The service was impeccable -- but that's not what this is about.

What this is about is the tone of the restaurant.

Cheryl and Gus Nicolaidis have created such a friendly atmosphere that what happened to us last night probably happens all the time to others.

We were seated at a table along the wall banquette. There was another couple at the table next to us. The tables are far enough away to provide privacy, if wanted, but yet close enough to encourage conversation.

And that's exactly what happened when the appetizer arrived at our table. The guy next store asked what it was. Knowing that Steve and I could not eat the whole appetizer (nor did we need it) we offered some of it to him. At first he politely refused, but we wore him down. We ended up chatting through both of our dinners. In the small world we live in today, the women's son lives quite near us, and she has a small farm for sale within a couple miles of us. We will probably never see them again, but it was fun to add a dimension to our dining experience that we had not expected.

And that's what this is about.

Cheryl and Gus has created a wonderful restaurant where not only is the food yummy, service great and the place beautiful, but because of their friendliness, they have set the tone for their patrons to be friendly, too.

They understand clearly that relationship is a factor in the success of a restaurant.

What wonderful dining experiences have you had and what made them so special?


Sandy of Sandy's Stuff for Women said...

You're probably not surprised that I would comment on this post. Three and a half years ago, a friend's brother and his wife opened Ansara's Steakhouse on Laskey Rd. We have become regulars -look in the lounge and you'll often find us there.

We've taken many others there - friends, customers, people from the networking groups I'm active with. We do it to develop relationships with those people and also to give our friends business. (Yes, we quickly became friends with the owners and we're honored to be almost considered a part of the family.)

The restaurant is a family affair with many of the staff being an Ansara. Kameel, owner and cook, always comes out and schmoozes with the customers no matter how busy the kitchen is. He's a big friendly 'earthy' kind of guy and I think his presence among the customers adds so much to the experience.

Yes, the food has to be good and the prices have to be decent, but there's so much more to a memorable dining experience.

Louise Kahle said...

One of my favorite things about living in Italy was the food and the wonderful restaruants. We lived on a small island with many small restaurants and the second time you went to one, you were remembered; the third time, you were treated like family and most brought you free food and drinks (has anyone reading this experienced homemade Grapppa?)
You were expected to spend several hours eating your meal, anything less being an insult. It is still annoying to us when, here in the US, we are rushed through our meal so they can turn the table over.