Monday, January 16, 2012

1-15-12 Survival Jobs for Writer-Musicians – Forward to 2012 and how the Times have Changed – New and Improved Survival Job # 1001: Abby’s Place

Well, except for doing music sofar in this life, I’ve been appreciated for writing. Mazel Tov, right?

And so now, in the name of making a living, I have to say that something else, new and sweet, is happening in my 2012 world of survival jobs.

There’s a little place, down in Essex by the Marina. Used to be called The Crow’s Nest, and it was definitely a dive – not clean, didn’t smell good, food wasn’t too edible. All that has changed, including the interior, which is totally unrecognizable. Other than looking great, it smells clean and good. It’s at 37 Pratt Street and everybody should start flockin’ to this sweet new (Aug. 2011) Essex restaurant, Abby’s Place.

Prices are reasonable, all meals are served Thursday – Saturday. Other than that, breakfast and lunch are served with bells on (closed Mondays). The kitchen staff is talented, funny: they have a good time, and food made in those conditions tends to smile, too. Lucky customers have heard mirthful imitations of South Park episodes wafting from the kitchen along with tempting aromas of coffee, cinnamon, bacon, and a clam chowder that’s unrivaled.

Again, welcome to Abby’s Place. They welcomed me with open arms and a jovial, kindhearted attitude. I was having a coffee with Joell Jacob after a walk one day, and the place was packed (a Thursday lunch in late December).

“Uh, do you need any help?” On the way out, I inquired of the bespectacled twenty-something man who’d been waiting on us, cooking, and keeping down the fort in general.

“Do you have experience?” I nodded, the memory of a lifetime spent in and out of jobs working at bar/restaurants (The Spring Street Bar, Chinese Chance in NYC), members clubs (The Main Squeeze in London, England), upscale martini bars (Lupo’s), and family places with ketchup on the tables (the Pattaconk). I recently worked a little for The Villager, so my food service industry know-how had also had a recent update.

This young guy, Brian, introduced himself as the General Manager, who said they’d just cleaned house. I just needed to meet Abby. A few minutes later, a tall, thin, serious looking, dark haired woman with a ponytail and black horn-rimmed glasses – an ageless person – appeared from the kitchen. She was in a hurry, but after about 5 seconds, Abby said, “I’d like to talk with you. Can we exchange numbers and talk tomorrow?”

“Sure.” Long story no longer, I saw they needed help, I offered it, and they accepted! I started to wait tables there, part time. They gave me the best shifts, appreciated my work with increasing praise and fed me lavishly (the food is REAL good). What a lovely change – er, improvement!

I mean, what a lovely change from so many previous jobs, where I wound up feeling like shit. Cool change.

Sometimes, the right survival jobs just come along. I admit, I’m always workin’ it. . . but when a hunch really pans out, and the pushing seems to pay off, whew! Sweet relief.

Also, having a bunch of freelance stuff to work on (INK, Shore Line Times, Coastal Homes), a new album by Amalgamated Muck to finish planning. . . and a few other interesting things going on. . . I’m getting ready to hit another stride.

I’m feelin’ pretty good right now – the family’s all fine, too. But don’t worry, I’ll get right back to other times, other places, other early jobs with Trixie, “the Rex,” even the Washington Squares – next blogs.

Thank you, Abby Miner. And thanks to all who are reading and following my “survival jobs” blog.

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