The kitchen will turn out traditional dishes of turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing and cranberry sauce, but there also will be Ray’s usual menu of steaks and seafood for those who aren’t fond of the big bird. Balas and the wait staff will be combing the dining room to make sure everyone gets what makes them happy.
“A lot of times, guests who book for holidays think they might get people who are grumpy and don’t want to have to work on the holiday,” said Balas. “Here, we’re all professionals. Many of the staff have been here 12 years; there are a lot of restaurant veterans.”
The restaurant’s management feeds the staff’s energy levels by setting up a pizza and soda section where the crew can grab a few minutes respite from the dining room.
“For the employees, that’s part of the fun,” said Balas. “We go off in shifts, and you never know who’s going to be there eating. You can be next to the dishwasher or one of the chefs. You just squeeze in, get a couple pieces of pizza and have a little relief before it’s time to go back.”
Perhaps because Ray’s staff is in high holiday spirits, Balas says they rarely encounter grumpy guests.
“Actually, at Thanksgiving, they tend to be very nice,” she said. “We hear a lot of thanks for being open. That’s the best part of the day.”
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