Hospitality, Pride and Relationships Make Ray’s Special

by Cindy Howard, Seasonal Cafe Manager


Our longest-term crew member, Cindy Howard has worked at Ray’s for 35 years!

Time flies when you’re having fun!

Thirty five years ago, I started my job at Ray’s Boathouse.  It was the place to work in the 70’s and if you made it through the grueling four-interview process, you were among a very select and eclectic group of healthy, intelligent, active, and a bit full of shenanigans, people.  The pride the crew felt working at Ray’s, was over the top and from day one, I observed mutual respect from owners and managers.

Within the first few days of training, I could feel the loyalty and passion among those working, and we instantly became one big happy family.  My new family worked together, played together and always took care of each other.  This was so unique to me as I had worked in many other restaurants around Seattle and there was nothing like the camaraderie at Ray’s.

In those days, it was not uncommon for the crew to start their lunch shift with a shot of tequila, with one of the owners at the helm.  No, this did not go on everyday; it was more like a toast to “bring it on” before we got our butts kicked with the high volume of guests lined up out the front door.  The lunch shift was fast and furious and of course filled with the high profile Seattle celebs and their martini lunches.  Being one of the hot spots in town, we attracted all the movers and shakers in town and was the place to go, to be “seen”.

Flashback to our 10th birthday in 1983!

Flashback to our 10th birthday in 1983!

At the time, the bar upstairs (now the Cafe) was a hangout for fishermen after they came home from crabbing with their pockets full of money and other items I won’t mention…remember, it was the 70’s and 80’s!  In the summer, we held our pre-shift meetings on the deck and would occasionally”‘flash” a fishing boat going by on their way to Alaska.

I knew most of my guests by name and what they drank.  Many came in several times a week and some, daily.  We had a little window in the bar where we could look out to the parking lot and see who was  coming in.  It wasn’t unusual for me to have their drinks waiting on the table before they arrived.

After several years of waiting tables, I was promoted to manager.  With that responsibility, I quickly learned that the name of the game was all about mutual respect, hospitality and relationships.  Nurturing guests, crew and vendors was, and is, my passion.

Never dreaming then I would still be at Ray’s today, I am grateful to the owners for trusting in my leadership and showing me the road map for success.

With our 40th birthday party today, I look forward to seeing many of those same people that were joining me in that shot of tequila, 35 years ago…cheers!

4 responses to Hospitality, Pride and Relationships Make Ray’s Special

  1. Kathy Davis-Hayfield June 23rd, 2013 at 11:35 am         Reply

    Great memories Cindy Lou……you forgot the part about spending every penny of our tips after work at the bar….or the funny business in the parking lot. Days I will never forget and always cherish.

    Great photo….we all look pretty awesome after 40 years!

    Love ya!
    Kathy and Brett Hayfield

  2. Deborah Boyer June 23rd, 2013 at 1:59 pm         Reply

    Thanks for a wonderful reunion, Cindy! Very fun seeing all of my, dare I say it, old friends, though I have to say, you and KK haven’t aged a bit. Not fair. Great food and great bonhomie! Thanks again, Debo p.s. I forgot to grab a comment card on my way out so just pass my comments onto the manager…or not! xoxoxo

  3. Deb Sullivan Gravelle July 1st, 2013 at 4:46 pm         Reply

    I’m so disappointed that I couldn’t be there to see everyone – I hope you’ll share pictures soon? Ray’s days were some of the best in my life! Thanks for the flashback, I definitely remember some of the shenanigans and fun…shots for sure, flashing boaters from the deck, late night wine tasting and just the satisfaction of serving the best food and making great experiences. Hope to make it up there soon and maybe for the next party?


  4. Karen Rosenzweig July 2nd, 2013 at 8:07 am         Reply

    Hi, thanks for the comments! This is the link to our 40th birthday Alumni Open House photo album on Facebook – enjoy!

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