Charlie Johnson FOH manager 6 years Sweet Chow, Minneapolis I know it’s always such a flurry leading up to it—there’s a bunch of last-minute reservations. People are desperate to get a seat. Personally, my wife is a chef so either one of us or both are always working. Then when we come home we’re just exhausted so that’s our Valentine’s Day. It hasn’t been romantic for a very long time. It seems like holidays are losing their luster. It is an opportunity to market the crap out of these events and jack up prices, you know. Personally I think the holiday is when all the amateurs come out. Just take your lady out another day. Or make every day romantic.
Ryan Schafer Server/Bartender 13 years Grand Catch, Saint Paul I’ve had a couple argue the whole time pretty recently. In the opposite, I’ve had a reservation where the gentleman came in three hours before the reservation and had candy and flowers for the table and he wanted to make sure the set up was very romantic. And the whole time during their date there was just a very nice glow around them.
Jake Eisenbeis Bartender/Server/Mixologist 14 years Augustine’s Bar and Bakery Saint Paul I’ve been lucky to not work on Valentine’s Day, but I have worked ‘date nights’ in the past. I think there can be some pressure because people want everything to be perfect. I’ve also served people who have been in the midst of breakups. For some reason people think it’s safe to break up in a restaurant.
Sarah Russell Bartender/Food Runner 3 years Esker Grove, Minneapolis I think Valentine’s Day is garbage. Any day that puts pressure on people to spend money to show their love is a waste. You should be showing your appreciation to your loved ones every day. I will say one of the places I worked at I used to always find it very entertaining to watch the single men and single ladies cruising for someone to meet. There was a guy who would come in to sell roses and he always made a killing. So good for him!
Ross Lambrecht Bartender 7 years Borough/Parlour, Minneapolis In my experience there’s a lot of two tops. People who aren’t on dates usually avoid going out. More wine, more desserts; generally it is more of a couple-y evening. This wasn’t Valentine’s Day but one of the most romantic couples I remember serving was about a year-and-a-half ago. They had their first date here and had returned on an anniversary. We had closed down the restaurant and this couple was sitting around for a while and finally the guy slipped to us that he was about to propose to his girlfriend. When she returned from the bathroom to the table, the remaining staff could overhear them talking, her reaction and their laughing. We all lined up and applauded, popped some champagne. It was really sweet.