Thursday, October 25, 2012

The Texas Way

I wish I had a picture. 

But you will have to just imagine our first night in Texas
Think great hospitality, a drawl, and a tall cowboy 
(with hat and boots). 

We entered Texas this afternoon and are spending the night in Amarillo.

On our way to the hotel we spotted a Red Robin restaurant from the freeway. 

Red Robin is a Kennedy family favorite. During our last relocation (back to California from Aberdeen, Scotland) we stayed across the street from one and ate there so often we had our own table. So it seemed fitting to continue the tradition here in Texas

So, hours after crossing the border from New Mexico into Texas we set out for the Red Robin in Amarillo. 

The GPS didn't seem to know where it was, but we just kept driving in the general direction we thought we had seen it. 
When we pulled up, the parking lot was full and we were worried about the wait.

We were greeted by a young lady with a clip board. 
She asked if we had a confirmation number? 
A reservation? 

Then she attempted to politely explain that they were doing something (I didn't get what it was) that required reservations only for the weekend. She suggested we make a reservation for the next night. We said we were only in town tonight. We were disappointed but ready to go find something else. As we gathered the kids from the pinball machines a manager came up and said they would seat us. She said "We have tables, we won't turn you away." So we sat, and ordered. 
Jim ordered a Guinness 
(one of his favorite things about Red Robin is that he can order a tall Guinness). 

A minute later a tall man in cowboy boots and a cowboy hat with a thick Texas accent approached our table and asked Jim if his Guinness had a lot of foam on top. 

It seemed a strange question, but it turned out he was the owner, Bobby Reynolds, and wanted to make sure he hadn't shorted Jim two ounces of precious Guinness. 

As we talked with him we found out that he was the new owner of that particular restaurant, that he owned about a dozen Red Robins throughout Texas and that it was their "Mock Service" night---basically practice time for all the new employees (and the food was practically free). We all marveled at the irony that got us there that night, on their first night open, when we normally would not have been given a seat, 
an hour after they branded the restaurant 
(yes, he has a huge branding iron with his company name and they "brand" the side of the building on their opening night.) 

It turns out most of Cowboy Red's (the name of his company) Red Robins are in the Houston area 
(double irony)
and so he gave us his card with a note on the back signed by him. 

You can bet Red Robin will continue to be a Kennedy family favorite in this new chapter of our life.