Bistro 13 is a relatively new restaurant — open just over a year — but waitress Cathy Kircher is an old hand in the business. She’s bartended and waitressed for 25 years and took a few minutes to share her experiences.
Q What kind of food do you do at Bistro 13?
A We have a variety of food. For breakfast you can get anything from the griddle — pancakes, eggs, omelets, breakfast wraps. And then lunch every day we have a homemade soup that we make, in the wintertime we’re going to have two soups; and then we have sandwiches, a variety of burgers, wraps, hoagies.
Our dinner menu we have appetizers, shrimp, calamari, mussels, mozzarella sticks. We also offer our soup of the day; we have salads. We have burgers, pasta, chicken, seafood. Our chef does a lot of Mediterranean cooking.
We tell all of our guests when they come in that everything on the menu is made to order.
Q What are the most popular items on the menu?
A Our chef puts up recommendations on the board, and usually it’s a couple different appetizers that aren’t on the menu, and then usually a seafood, a pasta and some type of meat special, and he’ll do vegetarian as well which is pretty popular. Our Mediterranean kabobs and Florentine dishes [with spinach] are popular.
On the weekend it’s maybe ahi tuna, steak, prime rib. On Friday nights now it’s really gotten busy where we have to put up a waiting list, so we’ve got to go get little beepers like Olive Garden.
Q What do you like the best?
A I love calamari and I love the fresh grilled salmon. After work, we know what we’re eating because [the chef] just cooks up anything [left over] and it’s always good. The burgers are awesome; my daughter loves those.
Q You’ve been open for a little while now, but have you noticed a difference with the Kent County Public Library being next door?
A We’ve picked up, yes it has. I was off for a couple of months but when I came back it’s picked up considerably. I think because of the library being here it’s making people more aware that there is a [shopping] center here.
Q What’s your background as a waitress?
A I’m originally from the Philadelphia area. I moved to Texas and actually got into waitressing in Texas. They were opening a brand new club and they wanted people who had never worked in a restaurant before to train them their way. So I started out that way, ended up as an assistant manager there.
Then I moved to California, worked in restaurants there on the Redondo Beach Pier. I met a person in California who was originally from the state of Washington and was going up there to open a mom and pop restaurant, and he paid my pay to go up there and run it for him. I was moving back to California, but stopped in Oregon and stayed for five years. I worked at a Best Western restaurant; it was awesome. I came back to Delaware because my mom was sick, and I got a job at Olive Garden.
The last 10 years, I was working in a dentist’s office, but my husband had a stroke so therefore I had to quit my day job to help take care of him and I was lucky enough to run into these guys. They adopted me. It’s a lot of fun. My daughter has grown up and I really missed waitressing.
Q What is it about waitressing that you really like?
A I used to go out a lot and I like to treat people the way I like to be treated. And I just like being around people, period.
Today, we had a couple of ladies that came in this afternoon — you can tell, after you’ve been in this business for awhile, you can tell if they are going to be difficult. And that’s my challenge, if they’re going to be difficult I’m going to be as nice as possible. [The ladies] were smiling and laughing [by the time they left], it’s really cool. I enjoy that; it makes it worthwhile.
Q You said you used to go out a lot, is there anything servers do that drives you crazy?
A They hand the check to you as soon as they bring you the food. I can’t stand that. I just think that’s horrible.
Usually what I do here, if we’re not busy — we had ladies come here at lunchtime and they were here two hours just talking, I won’t take their check to them. I say, “Look if you guys want to sit here and talk, just let me know when you’re really for your check.”
Sometimes you get two people and they want the bigger table, but if you’re not busy it’s no big deal. Make them feel as comfortable as possible because you want them to come back.
Email Jayne Gest at email@example.com