Tuesday, March 9, 2010

EL Pariente

So I wrote this a while ago, I thought it would be nice to share it with you...

A couple of days ago a friend took me to a restaurant that is in the middle of the road from Monterrey to Saltillo, called “El Pariente” (which means something like The Family Relative, but its like the “pal” or “mate” expression in english), when I was coming down the car I realized that I was in the middle of nothing, I saw this façade that could have been from a brothel, but the smell of the place reminded me it was a restaurant.

The interior of the place was very different; it had large concrete tables and chairs, it was very clean actually, I was just beginning to discover the place when a person appeared in front of me and told me “Chicken or meat pal?”, my first reaction was to say “meat” and me and my friend sat down in the first table we found available.

It wasn’t even a minute when dishes of meat started to pass to our table, accompanied with our very own charro beans “to make it better pal” said the waiter, and then he said “ 600 coke pal?” and yes a 600ml coke was my election.

Let’s eat!!!, I was just beginning when I realized that there was no cutlery in our table, but a quick overview of the place make me understand the situation, in the restaurant “El Pariente” no cutlery is used, so like an animal I just started to take the juicy meat and take it to my mouth, the strange thing was that I felt completely natural doing it, just because all the people in the place were eating in the same way, we were sharing a secret and enjoying the sin of eating without any decency.

Not one of the employees of “El Pariente” wear any uniform or distinctive item, their only characteristic was that they referred to every customer with a truthful attitude of service calling you “pal”, some of them were cleaning the place, others cooking the meat and others just taking the food were required. The thing is that all worked in the most natural way, projecting more than a service an authentic personality, making you feel in a special place more than just in another business. There are a lot of things to learn from places like these.

In cities full of franchises that do the same thing in different ways, full of host’s with false smiles waiting inside every door, its about time to ask ourselves, is this really what customers want? or better yet, is this the way that a business is going achieve success?

Though I have to admit that the meat was not really good, I have to finally say…What a good taste does the authenticity leaves.
Miguel Melgarejo