Behind the Counter

JUL 29, 2015

On exhibit during the run of Waitress, Behind the Counter is an oral history project inspired by people working in the foodservice industry.  This collection of photographs and interviews were compiled by the Waitress dramaturgy team to give a taste of dining culture and the humans behind the counter in Greater Boston.

Additional interviews and photos will be added often so check back throughout the run of Waitress.

The A.R.T. would like to thank all of the local diners, restaurants, and staff who participated in Behind the Counter, particularly A.R.T. partners (indicated by *).

Grafton Street Pub & Grill*

1230 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA

“I’ve always said the easiest way to sound sincere is to be sincere. There’s no secret, just don’t be a fake person… It feels very natural, very comforting: the value of providing actual sincere hospitality and trying to make some sort of human connection.”

– Kevin at Grafton Street Pub & Grill, Cambridge, MA



44 Brattle Street
Cambridge, MA

“It’s not about the tipping, I don’t care about that. I care about the respect, for the person as a person. A server is not a servant.”

– Yusef at Harvest, Cambridge, MA


Henrietta’s Table

The Charles Hotel
1 Bennett Street
Cambridge, MA

“I think I’ll continue to waitress until I go back to school. Or maybe I’ll open a little restaurant or food truck… A lot of servers are figuring it out, or don’t know what they want at all. Some are career servers, in their 40s or 50s. Who knows, maybe I’ll be here another 20 years.”

– Mary at Henrietta’s Table, Cambridge, MA



52 Brattle Street
Cambridge, MA

“I call it a limo ride… When you get in a limo, everything’s there for you, you didn’t know that you needed this but it’s there anyway, the door’s open for you, you sit in this comfortable car. That’s what I try to do for my customers here. Except it’s food.”

– Rick at Toscano, Cambridge, MA


Deluxe Town Diner

627 Mount Auburn Street
Watertown, MA

“[Diner] food is comforting because it’s usually a mom and pop place: somebody who started from nothing but built something.”

– Sara at Deluxe Town Diner, Watertown, MA

Rosebud American Kitchen & Bar

381 Summer Street
Somerville, MA

“People aren’t gonna have a good experience unless you’re completely genuine with them. And that’s what I try to be. When it all comes down to it, people are just people.”

– Tess at Rosebud American Kitchen & Bar, Somerville, MA

Clover Food Lab

7 Holyoke Street
Cambridge, MA

“I’ve been supporting myself for all of my life, since I moved out after high school, having to make ends meet looking for different jobs… Before this I was actually a butcher, which is a terrible job for a vegetarian.”

– Keegan at Clover Food Lab, Cambridge, MA

The Breakfast Club

270 Western Avenue
Allston, MA

“We’re all mothers and we have lives outside of here… Sometimes I’ll have a line out the door at 5:55AM and think, ‘Oh my God, I’m not ready for this.”

– Tanya at The Breakfast Club, Allston, MA

Veggie Galaxy

450 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA

“I’m a people person. But when you’re working with the public, the main thing is learning to deal with difficult customers. Maybe this person walked off the street and had a bad day, so I can’t take it personally if they’re not friendly.”

– Letitia at Veggie Galaxy, Cambridge, MA

Victoria’s Diner

1024 Massachusetts Avenue
Boston, MA

“I have to stay working because of bills… and my seven-year-old always wants something… My happiness don’t matter as long as she’s happy.”

– O.J. at Victoria’s Diner, Boston, MA

South Street Diner

178 Kneeland Street
Boston, MA

Interviews conducted by Waitress production dramaturg Amanda Faye Martin and intern Sam Hagen with participation from individuals at the preceding restaurants.

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