Feature

8 OG Servers You Need to Know in Seattle

By Jackie Varriano  |  January 30, 2017
Credit: El Gaucho

It’s easy to give chefs all the glory when it comes to a restaurant's success, but don’t forget about the other people helping to make your night out special — namely the servers. Across our wonderful city, we’ve got staff working tirelessly to remember everything from your name to your favorite hot sauce. Of particular note are the ones painted into history — just take a closer look at the walls of Belltown’s El Gaucho to see familiar faces. Keep an eye out for a filmmaker with a knack for creating great brunch entrees in Capitol Hill, a world traveler Downtown and a commercial fisherwoman in Belltown. Read on to learn more about some of Seattle’s greatest servers. 

  of  
  • Credit: Megan Allgood

    Megan Allgood at Hitchcock
    Allgood has been at the hyper-local Bainbridge Island restaurant since 2011, working her way up from server to general manager before being promoted to operations manager this past fall. Allgood calls herself the “mom” of the group, always bringing in baked treats and gifts for staff birthdays. She’s also a dog "mom" to a German Shepherd.

    Secret to success: "I always try and be the best version of myself. Have the confidence and the drive to get better every day at what you do. You never know where your skills will lead you."

    Insider tip: "Request to sit by the kitchen and order the chefs tasting menu with wine pairings. Sit back and watch the chefs create while you enjoy delicious food and wine. You’ll be amazed by new flavors and experiences — promise! 

    133 Winslow Way E; 206-201-3789

  • Credit: Palace Kitchen

    Eric Feller at Palace Kitchen
    Feller has been serving up Northwest-inspired comfort food at Tom Douglas’ Downtown spot for 16 years. In his spare time he and his wife travel the world, hitting locations as diverse as Argentina, Italy and Sheboygan, Wisconsin. "The exposure to the different food and drink cultures benefits my work. I’m able to better understand the influences that appear on the menus and explain that to each guest that visits us,” he says.

    Secret to success: "Since day one I've been encouraged to let my unique brand of personality shine. I love giving service that is a balance of fine-dining details and food/wine knowledge mixed with a little party time."

    Insider tip: "The Palace Kitchen is like a woman. Her secrets may be revealed, but only at her discretion." Feller suggests stopping by to discover them for yourself.

    2030 Fifth Ave.; 206-448-2001

  • Credit: Tavolata

    Michael Dapper at Tavolàta Belltown
    Michael has been at the pasta-focused Tavolàta in Belltown for nearly two years, but he has worked in restaurants for the past 16. He has degrees from The University of Washington in both economics and finance, and cycles and plays drums in his spare time.

    Secret to success: "I am constantly trying to find ways to be better in every aspect of service, finding new approaches to improving the guest experience and correcting inefficiencies. I try to be aware of everything that's going on in the restaurant, not just my tables. Ultimately the secret is to take pride in what you do; the rest will follow."

    Insider tip: "Dine family-style" as the variety provides the best experiences, he says, and don't be afraid to ask for advice. "Your server will be happy to help plan the meal with you to ensure a memorable evening."

    2323 Second Ave.; 206-838-8008

  • Credit: El Gaucho

    Rebecca Olsen at El Gaucho
    Olsen was first hired at the now iconic steakhouse in 1996, when the Belltown location was still an empty room. For 20 years, she has taken six weeks off during the summer to be a deckhand on a commercial fishing boat in Bristol Bay, Alaska — but she always comes back to El Gaucho.

    Secret to success: "Always be early for work and be willing to work until the dining room closes. Volumes can be written about what makes a good server and the components of good service — the mechanics of service can all be taught. What can't be taught is hospitality and joy in the work."

    Insider tip: "Let your server guide you to menu items that suit your taste, or if you want to try something new, be confident that we can help you find a dish you will love."

    2505 First Ave.; 206-728-1337

  • Credit: Lark

    Mindy McGuane at Lark
    McGuane has worked for James Beard Award–winning chefs in New York City and San Francisco, and she’s been at Capitol Hill’s Lark since 2011.

    Secret to success: "Find where you fit in. Lark has always felt like a family to me. A place where I can easily find a balance between work and raising a family. Not an easy feat for restaurant workers. But, above all, I am proud to represent Lark. I believe in the food and the people."

    Insider tip: "Share! Once upon a time, Lark was all small plates meant to be shared and enjoyed family-style. This is the best way to try more dishes and create your own tasting menu. And don’t forget to include a housemade pasta."

    952 E. Seneca St.; 206-323-5275

  • Credit: Colin Bishop

    Rob Welch at Café Pettirosso
    You'd be forgiven for comparing Welch to a superhero with a secret identity. By day he’s an artist, filmmaker and photographer, and by night he’s been taking care of guests at Capitol Hill’s eclectic Café​ Pettirosso since March of 2014.

    Secret to success: "Welcoming every guest as if it was to my own home/party! For example, knowing as many of our guests' names as possible and using their name, talking with them — not at them — bringing in personal touches such as specific ingredients for a cocktail or certain spice or hot sauce they like with their food, or simply seeing them out on the street, saying hello and smiling."

    Insider tip: "I recommend everyone try my personal favorite here at Pettirosso (my own creation), a spin on a poutine with fries, vegan mushroom gravy and sunny side-up duck egg, aka the best brunch entree ever."

    1101 E. Pike St.; 206-324-2233

  • Credit: RockCreek

    Marissa Cheshier at RockCreek
    In her spare time, Cheshier became a certified yoga instructor and now teaches classes. When she’s not promoting Zen, she’s bringing out plates brimming with local seafood at Fremont’s RockCreek, where she’s worked since the restaurant opened in July 2013.

    Secret to success: "I am fortunate to work with some very talented people. When you're genuinely excited about the food, cocktails and wine, it makes this job so damn fun and it makes you enthusiastically talk about it with everyone. It's easy to succeed in an environment like that. Also, having a little patience and a sense of humor helps."

    Insider tip: "Don't you dare skip dessert."

    4300 Fremont Ave.; 206-557-7532

  • Credit: Great State Burger

    Angie Mendez at Great State Burger
    Angie is a cancer-surviving, soprano-singing animal lover who also happens to enjoy slinging burgers at Great State Burger. She’s been there since the doors opened, just over a year ago. 

    Secret to success: When Angie was 12 years old and going through chemotherapy, a counselor helped her learn how to be happy, no matter the situation. “I decided that if I’m going to go out, I’m going to be one bald, happy person, going out with a smile on my face."

    Insider tip: Order your burger with "extra sauce and grilled onions. Green Apple soda. Bingo."

    2041 Seventh Ave.; 206-775-7880