Thursday, October 14, 2010

Growing Up Restaurant

Growing up Restaurant
I did many things growing up like most of you. I worked the local railroad summers in college, I taught skiing for 4 years in Vermont, I worked in my Aunt’s 7UP bottling plant in high school, I built houses as a carpenters help during school. However for some reason there was no escaping the fact that I came home every night to a restaurant in the living room of our home. It was opened when I was in my single digit years and I was still the chef there at 40.

There have been so many memorable nights in restaurants around the United States over the years. Here are some fond memories; the years may not be right on but I won’t spend my time worrying about the correct dates they will be close.

The very early seventies Art Carney retired and sober and playing the piano on occasion in our restaurant (just for friends) a restaurant I would eventually purchase in 1979 but I was just out of college at the time and working as a waiter. One night he told us they wanted him to do a movie with a cat as his leading lady; he said at his age it seemed reasonable. Harry and Tonto hit the screen, he won the Oscar and we never saw him again.

The restaurant was owned by Actress Julia Meade and her husband Worshum Rudd a man with an eye for detail. He taught me the importance of lighting and music he would become the GM at Studio 54 in Manhattan in it’s hey day. His wife Julia however was the blossom of my eye, I was just a kid but a crush I had LOOK OUT Mrs Robinson. Julia was Ed Sullivan’s niece and the Kodak girl that came out after every show to sell us film. She was an actress and had far reaching contacts. We filmed a good morning America from the deck of our restaurant overlooking Perkins Cove in Ogunquit ME. Ogunquit had one of the premier summer stock theatre’s in the country The Ogunquit Playhouse, I would assume it is still there.

The restaurant was the Fan Club and operated in those days only 10 weeks from the middle of June to the end of August. Every Monday night the Playhouse would start another play and the cast of the show were always our guests after the opening night. It was tradition! The restaurant would be packed with theatre goers awaiting the cast and on the cast’s arrival a standing ovation from the entire room would erupt. Worshum Rudd had the show tunes blasting on his green jukebox and he was sitting at his customary table like the King of France. The play house always featured big name stars that just loved the theatre circuit or were just out of the big dollars on screen. Patty Duke and John Astin stick out as one of the most fun, David Mc Cullum the Man from Uncle. Ethel Murman. 

Now get this we had a waiter by the name of Bill Holt, he was handsome as hell, and had done a fair amount of Off Broadway. At dessert time Bill would let his busboy handle dessert and he would break out his guitar and sing to his tables, it would bring the place to its feet and on one special night Ethel Merman to tears.

There is a connection to Pawley’s Island that goes back to those early 70’s in Maine. The chef at the Fan Club was none other than my old friend and part of the culinary team today at Bove 35 years later Julia had brought him straight from t he 21 Club in NY …Austrian Master Chef Detlev Martitsch Kreiner that is where we met and boy is that another story.

Be well y’all and have a great week!

Peter Sr.

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