If you can’t beat ’em

Dear Feastlings,
First off, my apologies to those of you who called late in the day on Wednesday for those last-minute Thanksgiving orders and were relegated to waiting list status. I know we told you in advance that the cutoff might come sooner than expected as a result of supply line issues and our ability to get ingredients, and fortunately, that was not the case.

Less fortunately, however, the cutoff came sooner because we simply couldn’t accommodate any more people- we simply don’t have the staff to handle it, and the phenomenon of ghost cooks and servers continues steadily. I spoke to someone on Thursday who sounded downright excited to come cook at Feast, so we scheduled an interview for yesterday. She chose to express her excitement by ignoring us.

I’m generally happy to be ignored by people- it dovetails beautiful with my personal misanthropy- but when I’ve scheduled my day around meeting with someone, I’m less delighted. I’m too busy to be resentful about it, but I won’t be going out of my way to reschedule, as I regard the first ten interactions with a new employee as their investigation into what we’ll put up with. Like everyone participating in what I understand is being called The Great Resignation, I find that I’ll be putting up with less.

Like them, I’ve discovered during the pandemic that I can make do with less, so rather than desperately hire the dramatically underqualified person who shows up to an interview to rattle off the reasons they’ve never worked anyplace for more than six months at a go, or to discuss the outrageous circumstances under which they were fired for not showing up for work, or stealing, or showing up drunk, I’ll just pass. We’ll make do with less. We’ll serve fewer people, we’ll keep shorter hours, and we’ll tighten our belts another notch, and like a lot of other restaurants, we may or may not go back to what we were doing before. I’ve talked with my various restaurant buddies, and we all seem to agree: why would we subject ourselves to it?

I’ve paid unemployment for someone who habitually punched in as a caterer half an hour before punching out in the restaurant to the tune of 80 hours or more of stolen time, and to the kid who left in the middle of his shift to procure himself some heroin, and to a long list of people who’ve proven themselves to be- let’s call it less than perfect. I’ve had someone embezzle tens of thousands of dollars from Feast and probably close to that from the crew by stealing from the tip pool. I’ve given second, third and fourth chances only to proven an idiot for having done so, and frankly, in discovering that we don’t need to do bring in as much money as I’d thought in order to keep our doors open, I’m okay with taking that route.

I have no intention of bringing in more business than we can handle, but I have no intention of bringing in more riffraff than we can handle either, so we’ve necessarily put the brakes on. What that means for you is this: you’ll want to plan a bit more, and a bit further in advance, if you’d care to join us. Stopping in and thinking you’ll just sit at the bar while you wait for a table to open up is just not a thing you can expect to do right now, as the bar currently has five seats, and more than likely, someone has reserved them a few days ago. And even if I were suddenly to drag all the tables and chairs I’ve been storing in my garage back in, we wouldn’t have enough staff to seat you at one of those tables, nor to wait on you at one, or to prepare food to set in front of you on one. Our options so far have been to hire someone who can’t tell you anything about the food or the wine, who can’t time a table or know what silverware you need; or someone in the kitchen who can’t cook a piece of fish without ruining it, or who’ll oversalt or undercook your meal. As it is, we’re training a number of newcomers to the industry, and we appreciate what patience you’ve demonstrated with the near misses we’ve subjected you to since reopening.

My suggestions: make your reservations early, and have a glass of wine to make yourself more accepting of our flaws. You can start today, if you like: there are a few more seats available for today’s in-person wine tasting, and even more seats available if you prefer to pick up a set of samples and taste along at home. Here’s a bit about today’s tasting,

For the bountiful glass

and here’s how to log in if you’re doing it from home:

Doug Levy is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.

Topic: Pinot and Gamay for Thanksgiving
Time: Nov 20, 2021 02:00 PM Arizona

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 883 0549 7761
Passcode: 921623

It’s also a good day to mark your calendar and call in your reservation for a visit from our friend David Rossi, owner/winemaker of Fulcrum in Sonoma, the dinner with whom is slated for December 8, and whose menu looks like this:

Wine dinner with David Rossi of Fulcrum Winery

You can reach us at 326-9363. And with any luck, there’ll be enough of us working to answer the phone.

Your friend,


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