by Cindy Howard, Seasonal Cafe Manager
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”.
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!