But it was also a way to quickly give the staff some ideas that led to an attitude about working at Tinkler’s that would be far more difficult to deal with in the future.


Oh and Ted’s attitude was difficult for the Tinkler’s management to deal with indeed. He was their star head chef. His degree from some brand new and modern chef school somewhere and experience at some swank place in “The Cities” (or perhaps even Chicago) gave him a gravyboat load of gravitas with everyone.

Especially the girls.

This Tickled Teddy silly and so… the silly shenanigans simply HAD to trickle out. It was inevitable and when it came to shenanigans, me and my East Center Street gang had nothing on Teddy Tinkler and his gang of girls. Yes I said gang of girls. Women, actually but in 1978, in Rochester, Minnesota, they were girls.

Ted’s girls were simply all the waitresses and hostesses that worked at Tinkler’s. They adored Ted, and he made sure to include them as he took full advantage of all the perks and possibilities open to him by being at the center of this “exciting and ground-breaking experiment in the restaurant business”.

Most of the time, it was enough to just be around him. He was so cool, like Mark… only older, better looking, with job skills and prospects. Ted gathered more than just girls around him. He was good natured and fun to be around, with just the right amount of mischievous nature to be very intriguing. Everyone was always wondering what Teddy Tinkler would do next.

Especially the girls.

I really admired him for that. The way Ted got so much attention from all the girls without being an asshole in the slightest. Ted was also nice to me and I was just the dishwasher. He never yelled at me for dishes if I got a bit behind during a rush. He knew it was almost never my fault but he also rarely yelled any anyone. A genuinely good guy, Ted even brought me back a sandwich for my dinner from time to time.

Yep, Ted was very popular indeed, and that is a big reason the management had so much trouble dealing with him. See… another thing Ted was popular for at Tinkler’s, was something they knew was a result of how they opened the place by giving all that food and booze away for free.

It started the day after all the food and booze was officially gone, after our big grand opening. We’d just closed after a really busy night and everyone was completely wiped out. I was lounging on a chair along with all the waitresses, hostesses, bartenders and cooks. No one wanted to start cleaning up just yet. The manager was up stairs in his office with the door closed. Who knows what HE was doing in there.

Then someone noticed that Ted was nowhere to be found but before anyone could even think of getting up to look, we all heard his whistling in the distance. Ted liked to whistle while he worked and so everyone knew it was him.

Ted had been downstairs. The the two huge walk-in refrigerators and freezer were down there, along with various other supplies and the skin-on home-fry machine I used so many times a day, I’d started thinking of it as MY machine. He came through the swinging double doors from the dishwasher’s room (my room) carrying two cases of Heineken. A big smile on his face, our fearless leader had brought us the good stuff.

“Bob, go get a bottle of Jack and a rack of glasses.”

The party was on. We drank it all, Ted made a bunch of special dishes and a mess of fries and we did it up real good. Then the manager came down.

We were all more than a little taken aback. In all the fun, we’d completely forgotten about him. I can’t remember his name so I’ll call him Phil from now on.

Ted, was not taken aback at all however. He just smiled and handed Phil a drink he’d just been handed from Bob.

“Here Phil, have a drink. Want a french dip? My specialty.” Ted’s smile widened as he nodded at Debbie, the head hostess. She was absolutely gorgeous every night but looked extra sexy after a hard nights work like this. Debbie was one of Ted’s favorite girls and when she saw him give her that nod, she also smiled at Phil. Debbie was French-Canadian.

Phil hesitated, then smiled and joined the party. A good choice for his social standing with everyone and although I couldn’t say if anything ever happened between Phil and Debbie (probably not) it sure was a good choice for his chances.

It was a bad choice over all however, as a manager. This one choice started a tradition at Tinkler’s that was nearly impossible to stop. A tradition of partying after closing. Drinking at least a case of Heineken and a bottle of expensive whisky and eating a lot of food. We all immediately started expecting this every night. For quite a while, we got exactly what we wanted. With Ted on our side, and a sympathetic manager wrapped around is finger, it lasted far longer than it probably would have otherwise.

It simply was not sustainable.  When the parties escalated and even went on to other locations and some of the staff were doing much more immature and irresponsible things. Things that I’m sure kept costing Tinkler’s more and more than they could ever handle. It simply had to stop.

And stop it did. But first…