Ladies Night at BookHampton has become the sleeper hit of this summer. On Monday evenings, girlfriends, moms, grandmoms and neighbors have been gathering in our wonderful Southampton store for the chance to have a conversation with BookHampton's special guests. This past Monday everyone gathered to enjoy "Dishing About Dining Out" with acclaimed restauranteur Toni Ross and powerhouse blogger Restaurant Girl, Danyelle Freeman.
While Toni, whose restaurants include the famed Nick & Toni’s, Rowdy Hall and La Fondita, told us what it really takes to run a successful restaurant, Danyelle gave us an overview of what to expect from a top-notch establishment and (in fairness) what not to expect.
Both women answered the question “Is the customer always right?” with a mixed message. “It's important that the customer think she's right,” said Toni. She went on to recall a long-time client who got into the habit of returning every entrée every time. Danyelle said that while the customer might be right, it is important for the customer to remain civil. She then suggested ways in which a diner might get into the good graces of the maitre d': if you are made to wait, try sympathizing with the plight of the overbooked staff. This, in truth, was met with more than a few audience sighs.
On the subject of civility, by the way, Toni and Danyelle noted that it is not uncommon for a favorite restaurant to be named in a divorce settlement, one party continuing to dine, the other being disenfranchised; we noted that usually this is not among the quick-burger crowd.
Danyelle suggested that people expand their culinary horizons: try something new, try a new ethnic taste. The East End in particular offers a spectacular array of seafood; however, Restaurant Girl added, many people do not know that the very best Mexican food on the East Coast is in fact found at La Fondita where the authenticity of the dishes has been a joyous surprise. Toni herself was surprised and touched, taking a personal moment to note that the restaurant, which initially struggled to get off the ground and now is a roaring success, had been Jeff's pet project.
We asked what the quirkiest thing that has happened in restaurant life, and Toni took the lead and stopped the show: It seems that at Nick & Toni’s, a man once took out a razor and gave himself a shave. After that, what more can one say?
Ladies Night continues every Monday at 8pm at BookHampton in Southampton. Of course all events are free! On Monday August 1st our guest will be Emma Walton, who along with her mother Julie Andrews writes best-selling children's books.