I don’t want to sound ungrateful. On the contrary, I’d call myself supremely grateful at this point. The staff at Feast has been resourceful, dedicated, and kind, even when I drive them crazy, which is a lot- more now than ever, I’d guess. Our guests have been generous and supportive beyond my expectations, hopes, or even comfort level. The government has stepped in just in time- twice for us, and more for other restaurants, bars and tens of thousands of other small businesses. And we’re inching our way toward herd immunity and normalcy.
Still, if you had asked me in 2001 what Feast’s twentieth birthday would look like, it wouldn’t have been semi-shuttered and desperately seeking staff after thirteen and a half months of takeout only. But here we are. Happy twentieth birthday, Feast. I picture myself staring deadpan into space, wearing a tiny, pointy party hat whose elastic strap is cutting into my chin, a lifeless noisemaker in my hand.
I haven’t been much of a birthday guy since I was about nine, and I’ve taken particular pride in working on my birthday and not making a fuss since I was a teenager, but a small business reaching a landmark twentieth year should be a little more special, at least in my mind, and when it’s a restaurant, even more so, as 70% of restaurants die in three to five years. So a party hat and a noisemaker would have been a nice touch today, on Feast’s twentieth. But this year, Mayday feels more like M’aidez, and as much as vous have been aide-ing, and as grateful as I am for it, it’s a sullen sort of birthday today, one that demands a little push to feel celebratory. So as long as you’re possibly coming in to pick up your wine for today’s tasting,
we’ll take ten percent off whatever sparkling wine you buy today, in hopes that you’ll pull the cork, pour a bit of bubbly and raise your glass to a Feast employee that you love, or a favorite dish, or an occasion you celebrated with us when people did such things. And when we finish cleaning up tonight, we’ll toast our favorite guests and regale one another with a montage of twenty years’ worth of hilarious and tear-jerking stories, we’ll remind each other that we love each each other, even when we screw up and upset each other, and that we’re a family, which almost guarantees that we’ll screw up and upset each other.
We’ll raise a glass to those we’ve missed for ages, and to those we’ve only just begun to miss, and to those we’re grateful are still here to help us miss the others. We’ll raise a glass to the warm feeling of a dining room full of people celebrating the events in their lives, or taking a well-earned break, or just grabbing a snack on the way to a theater full of people, or a concert electric with energy, or a memorial for someone they love.
I am, in spite of myself and my tendency to look behind every silver lining for the dark cloud, supremely grateful. Thank you, coworkers who are as dear to me as anyone I’ve ever known. Thank you, guests who’ve unwittingly become our extended family. Thank you, people who supply us with everything we need to make a reason for people to go out, and who’ve in the process become our dearest friends. We’re sending you a birthday wish: a day where a satisfied smile spreads across your lips, over and over again, throughout the day.
If you’ve waded through my treacle to this point, you’re undoubtedly looking for this bit about today’s Zoom tasting:
Doug Levy is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.
Topic: Wines mom would love
Time: May 1, 2021 02:00 PM Arizona
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 812 3898 7627
And if you’re looking for that, you may well be one of the people who got the short shrift at last Sunday’s Last Sunday tasting, and therefore qualifies for this little freebie:
And as long as you’re here, you may as well grab a bite
and pick up some bubbly at the aforementioned slight discount (hey, it’s a pandemic, people. We’d love to give a bigger discount, but it’s a payroll week. During a pandemic.)
Now get out there and do what we’re going to do tonight, whether it’s with bubbly, or a beer, or milk and cookies: raise your glass and honor someone, or something, important to you. They deserve it.
The birthday-celebrating people of Feast