What is your name?
Sawyer Cecil James Smith
How long have you worked for Chestnut?
Just over 4 years. I was hired about a week after we opened.
What is your favorite dish at Chestnut?
Our trout filet is absolutely amazing. It’s about as close to a staple entree we have at the restaurant, and its fantastic. I grew up in Idaho fishing trout out of the snake river, and I know good trout. Ours is delicious. Other than that, our green Thai curry mussels are some of the best I’ve ever had. I love mussels, but usually they are only offered in a traditional white wine and butter sauce; I love that we offer three different flavors, but our green Thai curry mussels are my personal favorite. I could drink the broth alone like a soup.
If you could travel anywhere in the world were would it be?
I lived in the Azores Islands off the coast of Portugal for about two years while I was growing up, and I would love to return. I’m interested to see how and what has changed. Plus I had some of the best street food I’ve ever had in my life while living there. I would love to visit Frankfurt, Germany. I was born there but have absolutely no recollection of it, so I would love to return and explore the city in which I was born. I want to try some authentic German sausage and sauerkraut.
What life lessons has working in the service industry taught you?
Good grief. Be kind and compassionate towards people. Always!
What has your most memorable experience with a guest been?
It It’s hard to pin down an exact experience, but my most memorable experiences always have to do with people that are respectful, appreciate my efforts and are grateful for kindness and honesty. I take care of a lot of children and families. One of the most memorable moments is when a little girl drew a picture of me on our kids meal and gave it to me as they were leaving. She said “Mr. Sawyer, thank you for being so nice to us”. Teared up on the spot.
A story about a favorite regular…
When I used to work brunch every weekend, my favorite regular couple would request me every time they came in and asked about how my week/month went and wanted to know how I was doing. They used my name when addressing me, and seemed genuinely interested in how I was doing. I still have regulars that address me by name and remember dining with me, but that couple were the first people to do so. They’ll always stick out in my mind.
What is the nicest thing a guest has ever done for you?
I’ve had a guest write me a thank-you letter and send it in with a 20 dollar gift certificate to the bar they owned. I never actually used the gift certificate, but I’ve been there multiple times now, and it’s a place I recommend to my guests when they ask. Also, if you enjoyed or appreciated my service, tell my manager! It may not seem like much to you, but it means a whole lot to me.