clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Readers Show Some Love to Their Favorite FOH Workers

New, 1 comment

On Monday, Eater put out an open call for readers to write in about front of the house employees that they know and admire. Here's a roundup of reader favorites:

123124425895843_a827ba652a_o-thumb.jpegRyan Armstrong at ABC Kitchen: "Hardest working guy out there and has to juggle everyone from the regulars, the celebs, the politicians, the CEOs — you name it and he does it without breaking a sweat. Best out there." — Steven

12122012_no_shows_emp1.jpegRamzi Budayr at Eleven Madison Park: "After only three months as maître d he was promoted to head maître d...and he's only 23 years old. 22 when he started last year. He is a tall presence at the front door, both literally and figuratively. He is uniquely attentive and gracious and is an integral spirit to the FOH team at Eleven Madison Park. He is someone that has caused an increased attention to the restaurant's already finessed service. He also speaks French and Arabic." — Eleanor

2012_brian_Bartels_%21234.jpgBrian Bartels at Fedora: "I've been going to Fedora since Lil' Wisco took it over, and no matter how crowded it is Brian has always made my friends and me feel completely taken care of. From all of the bartenders clapping to announce the arrival of regular customers to always figuring out exactly what you need after a long day — be it an extra Black Squirrel Old-Fashioned or an extra slice of chocolate cake — Brian and his team are great at what they do and make Fedora the kind of place I love coming back to." — Gail

2012_battersby_front_and_Center_123.jpgErika at Battersby: "Erika meets you at the door, always with an easy smile. I'd say from the third time we dined there on, she started to recognize me by sight. From the fifth time on, she greeted me by name. (When you're asking someone to wait 1.5 hours for dinner, this kind of personal touch makes a huge difference.) Even though I am by no means a VIP, she always leaves me with the impression that my patronage is valued. I'm not actually sure of Erika's position — part GM, part waitress, part hostess. She does it all. Her positive attitude makes dining at Battersby a far smoother and happier experience than it might be under a less friendly, welcoming captain. Yes, we love the food at Battersby, but we certainly wouldn't return again and again if it weren't for the stellar, affable, no-attitude service." — Cristina

One reader offers a few FOH favorites: Robert Collins, Kat Chuang, and Natalie Talking from Lure. Capon is the star but these three drive the train. Magnus at Blue Ribbon on Sullivan. He can juggle tables like nobody else. Jamie at The Dutch Keeps the scene under control as she floats thru the dining room. — Peter

12122012_no_shows_emp1.jpegMegan Vaughan at Eleven Madison Park: "Goes WELL out of her way (as de rigueur at EMP) to meet the needs/wants/desires/fruitless ambitions of her patrons. Like all great FOH staff, retains encyclopedic knowledge of customer tastes/likes/dislikes/personal milestones and hits each note flawlessly upon return, and return, and return. She's what other FOH staff should aspire to. Oh, and great insights into all things fromage too." — Jim
2012_barney_Greengrass_%21234.jpgDavid at Barney Greengrass: "David is a waiter at Barney Greengrass who makes our sable and lox bagels that much better every Sunday. He is in the head-to-toe classic Barney Greengrass whites and he is always in a great mood, with energetic stories to share with regulars and tourists alike. The perfect fit and a reason to visit the restaurant if the bagels weren't enough! (And he remembers our orders too!)" — Bari

2012_lincoln_front_center_123.jpgKellen Hamrah at Lincoln: "I know Kellen to be one of the most charismatic and hard-working people I've ever met. He goes to work every day with a smile on his face and always looking to improve himself, and his team. He is dedicated, driven, and determined to continue to hone his craft professionally and personally." — Angela

2012_ippudo_12345.jpgHiroko Tanaka at Ippudo: "The FOH at Ippudo in the East Village continually impresses me, especially the servers. They're fast, efficient, unafraid of helping out the bussers, and they're always smiling. One female head lunch server in particular, Hiroko Tanaka, is always wide-eyed, bubbly and spirited in her service. One of the few truly bilingual servers there, she's clutch in a busy lunch shift and I'm always glad to be sat in her section. She's also an aspiring actress, from what I gather, and I wish her the best of luck in both the service industry and in her entertainment career. Thank you. " — Logan

1232011_spasso_nyc_1.jpegTJ Siegal at Spasso: "After 15 years working in a variety of positions at some of New York City's top restaurants and bars, TJ Siegal brings a wealth of knowledge and industry experience to the cocktail and wine program at Spasso." — Bob

1232011_9_esquina1.jpegDiana at La Esquina: "She is the best maitre' d I've ever seen. She IS La Esquina. She's quietly gorgeous and is the very soul of that place. She knows how to run arguably one of the toughest doors in NYC for a restaurant that's chock full of celebrities, VIPs and Super VIPs and knows how to negotiate a relatively small room considering how many people are constantly trying to get in. She is bribed on a grand scale and daily basis, but maintains absolute integrity and doesn't crumble in front of the most intimidating or imperious guest she must turn away. Celebs love her discretion and humble, down to earth demeanor. She is the beloved queen of the hardworking army of busboys, who are the engine of the room she has to keep turning over and over. Diana has been at La Esquina practically since the beginning, has seen it all (which is saying a lot), and anyone who knows what's up knows her cell number." — Gwen

2012_palm_12345.jpgAlbino Serpagli at The Palm: "There's not a more charming, welcoming, well-dressed, yet 'old-school' NY front of house man than Al. Whether you're a third generation regular like me with your caricature on the wall, or a first time visitor from Buttf*&k, Idaho, you'll feel like you're part of the club. Not an easy task, and it's all because of Al." — Harlan

123joeleonard1.jpegAdam Benedetto at Joseph Leonard and Jeffrey's: "Adam is the friendliest manager ever. I went to Jeffrey's solo one night not long after it opened, and Adam made me feel super comfortable and welcome. I have become a big fan of both places and to me, he is the reason (in addition to the great food and easy day atmosphere) why I keep going back!!" — Sophia

Also of note: Many, many people wrote in about Nico di Stefano, the maitre' d at Bocca in Gramercy (possibly because the restaurant sent out an e-blast asking for people to write in). Next time you're there, do say hello.

· All Coverage of Front & Center [~ENY~]

abc kitchen

35 East 18th Street, Manhattan, NY 10003 (212) 475-5829 Visit Website


172 Waverly Place, New York, NY 10014 (646) 398-7630 Visit Website

Joseph Leonard

170 Waverly Place, Manhattan, NY 10014 Visit Website


837 2nd Avenue, New York, NY 10017 212 687 2953 Visit Website


255 Smith Street, Brooklyn, NY 11231 (718) 852-8321 Visit Website

Eleven Madison Park

11 Madison Avenue, Manhattan, NY 10010 (212) 889-0905 Visit Website

La Esquina

114 Kenmare Street, Manhattan, NY 10012 (646) 613-7100 Visit Website


239 W 4th St, Manhattan, NY 10014 (646) 449-9336 Visit Website


551 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10014 (212) 858-3838