DURHAM NC- Anothermind restaurant in Durham has an innovative solution for over qualified wait staff that is keeping both customers and employees happy. The triangle area restaurant is cashing in on the high number of waiters with their PhDs by allowing them to lecture while they are waiting on their customers.
How would you like to be seated at your favorite restaurant and hear an in-depth discussion on Medieval French Drama and the Iconoclast?
"This is the educated man's version of the juke box," said Anothermind manager, Felix Horowitz. "We've just decided to cater to our customer's intellectual, rather than musical tastes."
At Anothermind, customers are able to request certain wait staff and a list of wait staff, their specialties and the hours that they will be working for that week is always posted in the lobby, area newspapers, universities, as well as in academic journals.
With the high number of area universities, response has been great said manager Horowitz and there is never a shortage of qualified staff.
The area boasts top notch universities all within a 60 mile radius. There's UNC Chapel Hill, "Harvard of the South" 20 minutes to the west; NC State in Raleigh (30 minutes east); UNC Greensboro and A&T 45 minutes west and Duke and NC Central in right here in Durham just around the block from the restaurant.
Critics are touting the restaurant as this area's "culinary brain trust."
"As one might image, we also have a high number of customers who are academic types, so it is a very good match," said Horowitz.
"People are constantly telling us how much they enjoy the lectures and we're beginning to think that they like the lectures as much as they do the food," he said with a laugh.
"This has the potential to revolutionize the restaurant business," says the restaurant's proprietor Dale Smith. "Admittedly, this is a niche in the restaurant business and could not be done everywhere," he said.
Smith went on to say that they were in the process of working out deals with other restaurants around the country sharing the same markets as Anothermind by allowing waiters to travel between restaurants and creating sort of a "guest waiter" circuit.
This would provide the restaurant's more lecture variety as well as giving these erudite waiters an opportunity to travel, make contacts and feel important Smith commented.
"There is nothing like the feeling that you have wasted the past 7 years of your life working on a dissertation only to go to work as a waiter," Smith said. "We're giving them an opportunity to regain some respect."
Other areas of the country that have markets like ours and are "mixing academics with their salads," said Smith were Berkeley, Ann Arbor, Madison, Boston and Amherst.
Sources say that the fast food restaurant chain, McDonald's, in an effort to copy the restaurant, has been discussing the possibility of adding "talking french fries" to their menu, but no word is out yet on how that might be going.
Here is the list of wait staff for this week (and their area topics):
Dr. Malgorzata Hueckel---Slavic Languages and Literature of the 19th Century; M-Sat. 5pm-9:30pm
Dr. Franklin Kitschelt--.Contemporary American Fiction and American Renaissance; Tue-Sun 6:30pm-12am
Dr. Elijah Mendelsohn--English and the American Novel as Genre 1700-present, or modernism; Tue-Sun 6pm-10:30pm
Dr. Orson Bard--Science Fiction and the post modernist era; Mon-Sat 4:30pm-10pm
Dr. Orin Pelech--Russia: Origins to 1865; Wed-Sun 12pm-9pm
Dr. Claus Koonz,--South, Civil War and Reconstruction; Tue-Sun 6:30pm-12pm
Dr. Denise Horowitz--Conquest and Co-existence in the Mediterranean
Dr. Jason Andrews--World Civilizations to 1500; Tue-Sun 6pm-10:30pm
Dr. Charles Bane--Restoration and 18th Century Literature; Wed-Sun 12pm-9pm
Dr. Graham Dane--Medieval English Literatures and Cultures: The Emergence of Print; Mon-Sat 4:30pm-10pm
Dr. Congie Boyle--Critical Mythologies of Irony; Wed-Sun 12pm-9pm
Dr. Lancaster Sims--Medieval French Drama and the Iconoclast; Tue-Sun 6pm-10:30pm