Some celebrations are better than others.
On November 2nd – 5th, 2011, the community came together to join us in celebrating our 40th Anniversary in business. Over this busy four-day period, I observed something in action that I have been observing for years – but until now, I’ve kept it to myself.
Over the years we’ve seen the passage of time take some of our best clients and are always searching for our next best clients. The perks for our best customers are myriad. There are no initiation fees, no dues, no minimums, just great food and wine with friends and the feeling that you are special.
First of all, I must give kudos to where they are deserved. The celebration exceeded all of my expectations. The live music at our finale street party was terrific, thanks to Patrick and Paul for a wonderful performance. Justin from Neapolitan made certain that we had plenty of power for the band. Gia had her bar and restaurant staff fully primed and ready to go. They all performed perfectly. The kitchen staff was in full season rhythm. I love it that way. Maryanne and her crew did not miss a beat in the bakery and Tara had a beautiful cake for all to see. Wynne’s garden is more spectacular than ever. Sukie has both Ridgway and Bayside in perfect physical shape. Thanks to all.
We began with a private reception at Ridgway Bar & Grill, on Wednesday. We then proceeded to a sold out wine tasting at Bayside Seafood Grill and Bar, on Thursday and to a scone and cake tasting at Tony’s Off Third, on Friday and the finale, The Street Dance, on Saturday. Mollie, our PR specialist, who was so good, what more can I say, all four days went off without a glitch. While we had plenty of public treats planned, it was our private events that warmed my heart most.
Did our customers get preferential treatment? YES, deservedly so!
Our best customers have many traits in common. Some go back almost forty years and by shear longevity are favorites. Some dine with us 50-100 times per year. Some buy wine from Sukie in vast quantities. Some simply love great food and wine and choose to dine with us. They all have one common thread: They love being at both Ridgway and Bayside. They love the idea that Tony’s off Third has wines that are hand selected. They love the fact that the restaurants are owned and operated by hands on and passionate people. John Everding, Jennifer Landon, Andrea Eastman and Chef Abel Gonzalez personify what Sukie and I believe in, as they watch over Bayside every minute of the day.
For those who are not at the top of our lists, there is always hope. The common theme of the week was one of celebration and more important of being able to see and celebrate with old friends. One of the realities of being in business for so long is that we have great clients who go back almost to day one.
Many guests said it was so much fun to see old friends. Old and new friends are truly what a great restaurant is about. I was once again reminded that a restaurant is not just a place, a physical structure as it is a gathering of individuals. Some nights are so special because there is that sense of personality that pervades.
We can provide a perfectly fine establishment, and both Bayside and Ridgway offer that. We can offer a well thought out and well-executed menu, and Bayside and Ridgway do that as well. The magic comes from the guests. The multiple personalities that make up each night, the generations that cross our paths each day, the various backgrounds and beliefs that we bring create the aura, the sense of personality and excitement.
Many of our clients bring fascinating and sometime exhilarating backgrounds. Some are reticent to talk, some gush forward.
I sometimes think that for a few minutes of each lunch and dinner, these disparate people come together in a dining and social environment and share the common bond and forge into an agreeable synergy that can transcend polarizing issues.
The fond memories you shared with us at the 40th Anniversary was the inspiration that led Sukie & I to open the NEW Courtyard Bar. For those of you that miss the casual atmosphere and great food at Truffles — you are going to love the Courtyard Bar. Walk up / sit down / enjoy a Truffles Tuna Caesar. No reservations necessary and along with a light-fare menu, you can enjoy pastries perfect for those nighttime sweet tooth attacks. We’re telling people “Sandy Feet Welcome,” which means it’s as casual as you want to be when you arrive by foot, bike, car, golf cart or off the beach. The Courtyard Bar is open past midnight on New Years Eve. Can you imagine a more beautiful place to celebrate the night?
Many thanks to all who attended and celebrated with us, thank you to our staff who created the Orchid Garden in the Garden at Ridgway Bar & Grill. And thank you to those of you out there who are saying I’d like to be the next best customer. We’re welcoming applicants with open arms. It can begin simply with a single drink at the new Courtyard Bar at Ridgway or talking with Scotty at the Upper Deck Bar at Bayside.
Hope to see you all soon as we begin to build more memories in anticipation of our 50th anniversary in 2021!