One of the big reason I have not written much on this site is because I have not been working in the service industry. Full time, at least. The pandemic did much to change my life just like it did for everyone else.
But now I think I am making the jump from the kitchen to the front of house. Not permanently (I hope!) but it will be a job that lets me work my current office job.
Yes, I work in front of a computer monitor now. Turns out being able to make budgets and sales forecasting in Microsoft Excel is quite useful when it comes to working in an office.
I am picking up a job as a bartender at a local restaurant. I have worked as a barback before, and have dabbled in actual bartending, but working at an establishment is something of a new beast for me.
You have been to this kind of place. It’s something close to what Jimmy Buffett envisioned when he came up with Margaritaville. This restaurant is not chill like that, however. It doesn’t try to be and it will actively refuse to be.
This place does not belong to the understated wave of Mexican upscale dining, where the flavors in your palate are paramount. It also does not belong to that class of greasy joints where the tortas are the size of your head, burritos are the size of your thighs, and tacos that make you gain two pounds just by looking at fat dripping off them.
No, this place wants to throw a party at you and there is nothing you can do to stop it.
Having a birthday? Music will stop to play Happy Birthday loudly over the PA. Order a bottle? All the floor staff will show up to your table to congratulate you on blowing a couple hundred dollars on alcohol.
Picture the setting, if will.
You walk in from the freezing cold. Loud reggaeton and bachata immediately pound your ears as soon as you open the door. The host is running around trying to figure out where to seat you. Everyone yelling. The drinks menu is almost exclusively tequila and mezcal. All drinks have a million garnishes. Most food items are not on plates, but are on molcajetes, cutting boards, churro carts. The staff talk to each other in Spanish, but only a couple can talk to you in English because they know how to speak it. At least once an hour all music and conversation is interrupted by a celebration of some sort with screams and fireworks. The televisions are on Telemundo or Univision.
We also have these monstrosities:
It takes two people to carry this to your table. You will not be able to have anything else on your table once it is set down.
This kind of restaurant is what I am now calling “party-mex”. Not quite a club, but it certainly has a certain amount of club DNA in it. And I am signing up to be a bartender in one of them.
Que comience la pari.