In high school I had two jobs. Between my sophomore and junior years I worked as a server at the Purdue Memorial Union. There it was my job to assist in setting up and breaking down conference luncheons, serving food, and doing dishes.
A year later the Crane family offered me a job as a server at the Morris Bryant Smorgasbord. At the time it was by far the classiest restaurant in town. That was a great job because the Cranes were very nice, the people who worked there were a lot of fun and it was nice to feel like a member of an extended family.
One night it would be my responsibility to keep the cold and hot tables stocked, on another to act as a hot table server slicing the roast beef, and still another working the dessert booth. At the end of the evening shifts, we’d be allowed to gorge ourselves on an abundant supply of fried shrimp, ham, roast beef, ribs, scallops, fried chicken, and even (yuk) caviar before we resumed the night’s work setting up the dining room for the next day, doing dishes and packing the leftovers in the huge refrigeration unit.
For some reason I remember the two large frames that hung on the wall behind the hot table — one displaying a very large metal fork, the other a table knife. We thought it great fun to put large olives on the prongs of the fork.
The Morris Bryant was partially destroyed by a fire on April 23, 1994. Rebuilt a year later, it was completely destroyed not by a fire but by a tornado on its grand reopening day. Soon thereafter, thoughts of resurrection were abandoned once and for all.