Now that summer is officially over, and the midnight October 14 deadline for voting for Dan’s Best of the Best has passed, I am prepared to write on a subject I have been studying all summer—what it takes to be the best waitperson in the Hamptons. I do not know who the best waitperson on the East End is, but I do know that whoever ends up winning this year will have possessed certain qualities necessary for such an honor.
Perhaps nowhere else on earth is it harder to be a waitperson than right here in the Hamptons. Aside from the demands of working at an already difficult job that often includes having to meet the standards of a world class restaurateur, there is another element that is unique to the East End.
To clarify, in the Hamptons, we have a very diverse culture, whereas you never really know who will be your next customer. A healthy mix of old money, new money, titans of industry, media power brokers, celebrities, politicians, garden variety tourists and locals make the job of a waitperson that much more complicated.
For instance, if a group of hipsters walk into one of our amazing East End restaurants and plant their vintage-clad selves in the booth and then commence to use “hipster speak,” it is extremely beneficial if the waitperson is familiar with the overall habits and preferences of the aforementioned. These independent thinking, counter culture, art loving, 20 and 30 somethings want to be treated as such. As a result, to enhance their dining experience, it would be prudent for the waitperson to compliment them on their androgynous hairstyles, luxurious facial hair or urban outfits.
What if the next group to be seated includes one or more of the Kardashians? This will obviously require a knowledge of their body of work. For instance, you might want to make mention of how much you enjoyed their Dash Hamptons pop-up store and that you are also looking forward to watching Kourtney and Khloe Take the Hamptons.
How about when the former mayor of New York City or George Soros is seated in your section? That most likely will require a sommelier-like knowledge of wines, a perfect comprehension of the menu and a certain air of sophistication to match.
Of course, it’s not just the wealthy that require forethought. How about if a vacationing family from Omaha, Nebraska ends up in at table number 12? Knowledge of the area will go a long way as they are inevitably going to ask you about the various things to do on the East End. When you can make suggestions that clearly fit their sightseeing desires, there is a greater chance they will show their appreciation.
Speaking several languages including German, French and Spanish is also a benefit.
If you are not from the area, you may not understand what it means when someone named Miller, King, Bennett, Conklin, Havens, Strong or Lester sits down for dinner. However, the Best of the Best knows all about Accabonac Harbor.
Given the need for all these qualifications and more, I am going to go out on a limb and suggest that the Hamptons is one of the most difficult places in the country to be a waitperson.
Because of this, I salute all the Hamptons waitstaff. Whoever ends up winning Dan’s Best of the Best…it will be well deserved.