||Last Seating. Retirement at Trader Vics.
Joined: Jul 18, 2004
From: Tiki in a Crowsnest, AB., Canada
|Posted: 2018-01-01 9:38 pm  Permalink|
I didn't see this posted anywhere.
I saw this interesting article with some nice pictures. Thought I'd share it here since it deserves to be read.
Sounds like a great lady who probably has lots of stories we would love to hear! I'm sure lots of you have had the pleasure.
Joined: Apr 09, 2002
|Posted: 2018-01-22 11:07 am  Permalink|
I started frequenting Trader Vics in Emeryville back in the early 90's and in all that time, I can only think of maybe one time, two tops, when Claudette wasn't right there in the front. She was a fixture of Vic's and was a big part of what gave it its charm. When we first started going there, they would have table captains as well as waiters/waitresses and hosts. In fact, the "tip" portion of your bill included at least 2, if not 3, separate tip lines for each of the people that made sure your dinner was top notch. Eventually they did away with this protocol and I actually kind of miss it. But I'm so glad they kept Claudette. It won't be the same without her there.
Joined: Oct 19, 2015
From: East Bay, CA
|Posted: 2018-01-22 12:21 pm  Permalink|
tikitonga: very well said, mate. I concur with everything you wrote.
I've been going to Emeryville Vic's all my life (I was born the year it moved to Emeryville and have always lived a few freeway exits away) - it was an astonishing place to eat for special occasions as a kid. But when I was finally legal in the early 90s and started going to the SF and Emeryville locations for a proper drink, Claudette became this larger-than-life figure of respect to me. There was always this regal sort of air to her yet she never put on airs; however, you crossed her at your peril (if you ever saw her .86 someone, like I did once back in the day, you know exactly what I mean). She was charming and hilarious with a razor-sharp wit, a small woman with a huge personality. She could also be quite warm and thoughtful, like the times I would start getting in my cups and she would send over an order of fries with a wink because she wanted to "make sure you're eating, too."
Her brain must be some sort of combination of steel trap and elephant's cos I have NEVER seen someone who actively remembers SO. MANY. PEOPLE. It's utterly astonishing. My fave TV's Emeryville spot is to sit at the bar, on the right, across from the hostess station, and over the past couple of decades I have seen her greet literally hundreds of guests by name. The first time I ever took the guitarist in my band to TV's she was her usual gracious, accommodating self and when she saw us out at the end of the night he remarked, "No wonder you're always coming here after band practise, she's amazing!"
We all become "regulars" at places for various reasons: convenience, affordability, vibe, etc....but I would be lying if I said that Claudette and the way she was, just her being her natural self, wasn't a huge part of that - she made a place I was taken to as a kid "my place" as an adult. There's no way I can express how much I will miss walking through the doors and her coming around the hostess' station to give me a hug and ask me how I've been. I am so glad that I got to say goodbye, yet so saddened at the same time. I'm sure it will be easy to hire someone else but it will be nigh on impossible to replace her.
Thank you for all the laughs, hugs, buzz-chasing appetizers, and memories, Claudette. You're the bee's knees and I am a better person for knowing you.
|Or Got Rum?|
Joined: Jul 29, 2009
|Posted: 2018-01-22 12:29 pm  Permalink|
As a person in the biz, She is what we would call a precious rare jewel, and unfortunately more rare than ever now. I wish I had met her.
Joined: Jul 29, 2006
From: Maryland (Land of Pleasant Tiki Living)
|Posted: 2018-01-22 1:58 pm  Permalink|
Remember being seated by her when we went to TV's. A rarity of dedication and service you never see anymore. (-: