On giving a name at the register to be called when your order is ready

Shultzy's Sausage describes itself as "Seattle's Wurst Restaurant since 1989!" It's a local hangout for sausage, beer, chili, and advanced dishes like sausage with beer or sausage with chili.

In the early 1990's, Shultzy's expanded to a second location just a few blocks from Microsoft's main campus in Redmond, at a location known to my circle of friends as the location of death.

Many neighborhoods have a location of death: It's the location where there's a restaurant that can never manage to stay open. First it's a gyro restaurant. After a few months the gyro restaurant shuts down and a crêpe restaurant opens in its place. After another few months, the crêpe restaurant closes and a tea shop opens. You get the idea. It's not that we want the restaurants to fail. It's just that the location appears to be haunted.

Anyway, we wanted Shultzy's to succeed, so we made a point of going there semi-regularly. One evening, we went to the register and placed our orders, and the person behind the counter asked for a name to call when the order was ready.

Sometimes, when we went out to eat as a group and were feeling particularly whimsical, we'd all give the same name (Dave). Each time the name Dave was called, whoever felt lucky went to the counter to pick up the order. If the order was theirs, then they "won." It was cheap amusement, I admit.

Anyway, at this particular visit to Shultzy's, we did not play the Dave game. Each of us just gave our names. Except for Bob, who decided to be a bit of a smart aleck. When the person behind the counter asked, "What's your name?", Bob shot back, "What's your name?"

The person behind the counter calmly replied, "Shultzy."

Bob realized that he had just sassed the restaurant's owner and meekly replied, "My name's Bob."

Shultzy was gracious. "Thanks, Bob. I'll call you when your order's ready."

Even though Bob was only in his early 30's, he was a relative old-timer by Microsoft standards of the early 1990's. He perhaps should have recognized Shultzy, because Shultzy himself was featured in a full-page Microsoft advertisement a few years earlier touting how a small business uses Microsoft Excel to manage its day-to-day operations.

The location of death took another victim. The Shultzy's location near Microsoft main campus shut down after a few months. But the reason wasn't lack of business. Shultzy said that business at the new location was fine. Rather, he came to the conclusion that it was too much work to manage two locations, so he scaled his business back to its original size.

Today's article is in celebration of Seattle Restaurant Week.

Comments (16)
  1. Entegy says:

    Yup, we have one of those locations down the street. It's odd considering it's a good location. Right on a main road. The building was just too large and too expensive to rent for a single restaurant I guess, so it's finally been split into another business and a restaurant and the current restaurant seems to be doing well (although I've never personally visited it).

  2. Clayton says:

    This is well before my time in Redmond, but I'd like to think this was on the corner of 148th and 124th, where there have been probably 6 restaurants in as many years. I'm quite happy with the current establishment there, though, and am glad to see they seem to have some staying power.

    [It's in the shopping center behind the Arby's on 24th. I think it's a phở place now. -Raymond]
  3. Minos says:

    Now the guy who's actually named Dave has to give a false name so that he can get his order.  I had a coworker who would always give "Tonto" as his name just in case there happened to be another Todd ordering at the same time.

  4. Dan says:

    I knew a guy who used to play the Dave game, but with the name Spartacus.  Name gets called, someone stands up and says "I am Spartacus".

  5. Muzer says:

    When one of the societies at my university reserves a table at the pub, it's reserved under "Dave". A person called Dave doesn't always go, and there's nothing particularly special about Dave (as far as I know he isn't the person who books the table), but Dave is one of the easier names to dictate over the phone, compared to, say, "SUWS" (the name of the society) ;)

  6. Jonathan says:

    I had a friend who would reserve a dining place for our group – always under the name "Elvis Presley".

    Oh, and Seinfeld's take on the death location: http://www.criticalcommons.org/…/view

  7. Myria says:

    Would-be restauranteurs would be wise to check out the history of a location before renting.  Certain locations just don't work for restaurants, due to visibility, traffic flow, and other issues.  If 3 restaurants failed at the location previously, it is probably for a reason.

  8. John Muller says:

    If it seems like an obviously good location, the landlord probably charges too much rent.

    Or there is this building in Renton that cycles through restraunts, my brother-in-law managed a pizza place there, problem was sewage would back up out of the floor drains into the kitchen…

  9. Nathan says:

    Some family members detest this practice, so they give a name of "Number 12" or some other number. Using "Number 6" could trigger "I am not a number, I am a free man" responses in places.

  10. M Hotchin says:

    Back in the day, we had a friend of (I think) Dutch extraction whose name was memorable.  We used that name even if he wasn't with us, because "Table ready for Hoogerbeets" is impossible to miss.

  11. Lev says:

    Sometimes the restaurant just changes its name and theme. Probably this is a ruse to avoid creditors.

  12. There is indeed a phở restaurant by the Arby's, according to Google Maps: Pho Hoa.



  13. SMW says:

    When I was growing up there was a "bad location" place like that about a mile away from our house.  A couple of restaurants failed in short order.  Then it became a "gentleman's club" and it's been that ever since.  And it's quite the dive on the outside!

  14. John Muller says:

    On Topic:

    Beuller… Beuller… Beuller…

  15. Gabe says:

    I prefer R0-R15 for register names.

  16. 640k says:

    @Gabe: Although it make more sense to use the table's address than the register you ordered at.

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