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Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Rogues' Harbor's Dictionary of Restaurant Lingo

I've (E has) been in the restaurant business for 23 years, about 18 of those years in the Ithaca area. Every restaurant on earth (in Ithaca, NY and beyond) has their own slang. Rogues' Harbor Inn is no different. Most meanings carry over from one restaurant to another.  Recently, there have been a number of reality restaurant shows highlighting a behind the scenes look at the restaurant world. But, even these glimpses (some accurate, some not so much) don't seem to offer much insight into the restaurant language which permeates the industry. I think the expressions are an interesting slice of life. They offer a peek at the true personality of the hard working, tough as nails, yet light hearted folks that make it all happen.
So, We decided to make a list of definitions for non restaurant folk for educational and/or entertainment purposes. We had a tough time making the list. These are terms we use all the time without even noticing. I'm sure we've left a few funny ones off the list, so help us out if you can. Fun times and hard work in the Finger Lakes restaurant biz. Here goes...

Feelin' It = feels like it's going to be a busy night
Not Feelin' It = feels like it's going to be a slow night
Shifty = the staff meal
Ho' = the non gender specific host/hostess
Ho'ing = greeting and seating
Front of the House = customer service
Back of the House = non customer service staff, ie: kitchen staff
The Line = area of the kitchen where dinners are plated
The Floor = dining  and drinking areas for guests
Line Dog = line cook
Skirt = apron
Specialed = a table who has been made aware of the specials
App = appetizer
Deuce = table of 2
2 Top = table of 2
4 Top = table of 4
6 Top = table of 6
yada yada...
Campers = guests who stay long after finishing dinner
On the Fly = ASAP needed it 5 minutes ago
In the Weeds =  way way behind, buried
'86 = sold out
SOS = sauce on the side
Walkin' = rare
Mooing = rare
Done = medium well
Burnt = extra well done
Upside Down = special order
Upside Down and Sideways = crazy special order
Reggae = as stated on the menu/ regular
Turn a Table = finish one group and re-seat another at the same table
Turn and Burn = finish it and re-seat it incredibly fast
Behind = for god's sake don't back into me
All Day = total count of a menu item needed
Add On = joiner to a table in progress
Regular = a guests who is in a lot
Drinkers = only drinking, not dining, guests
Desert Travelers = water only drinkers