Sunday night was "Thank You Night" for Bob and Grace Rood as they welcomed friends who served as host and hostess at their restaurant, Flaps, while the Roods were on vacation last month. Gathering like old classmates with much in common at the cocktail party in their honor, the couples had compliments and no complaints about their one-night stints as head honchos.
Each evening while the Roods were gone, a local couple, friends of the Roods, became their substitutes to meet and greet patrons at the door and play Grace and Bob for the evening. At first, Marilyn and Dave Terzian were apprehensive about their role. "We are in the fast food business [partner in Jerry’s Subs and Pizza], not fine dining, and we hoped that in August — how busy can it be?" said Dave Terzian.
It was busy. They stayed past closing time and what impressed them most was how hard the staff works when the restaurant is crowded. His wife, Marilyn, said a few people thought they were new owners.
For Lou and Ann Donatelli, their evening as host and hostess was "party time" when their friends arrived and took over the tables on the floor level. Wendell Holloway, also of Potomac, showed up in a flight suit from his days as a pilot in the Vietnam war and was surprised that his suit was recognized by one of the customers who said "What do you know about the Young Tigers [the name of their flight squad]?" Holloway answered that he " was one of them." And so was the customer. Later, Holloway strolled over to Safeway looking for friends and found and convinced few couples to come back with him.
Being in the restaurant business means being a witness and a caretaker for the evening, as Sandy Bresnahan discovered. She seated two people who arrived separately and did not know each other — blind date or cyberdating? — and found a solution for a woman with allergies who could eat very little. Bresnahan’s husband, Tom, hosted with her and is the retired general manager of WMAL.
Other Grace and Bob stand-ins were Pete Plamondon, Roy Rogers restaurants owner and hotelier, with his wife Laurie; Catherine Bartels, vice president and general manager of Saks in Chevy Chase and her husband Frank; Geary Katz, owner of Senate Insurance and Gregory, his 16-year-old son; and business consultants, Dick and Debbie O’Neil. Not to be outdone, Dr. Fred Sandford, a retired admiral, hosted the evening by himself. Adding to the lustrous list of hosts were attorney Roger Zuckerman and his wife Irene; Marty Schramm, writer for the Washington Times and his wife Pat; 40-year Potomac resident Ivan and Sandy Osoroff; and Tom Kelly, a retired FBI bureau chief and his wife Stasia Kelly, general counsel for AIG. They have been initiated and are now part of the "Enjoy Flaps Club."
All agreed that it was enjoyable and enlightening. Luckily for the Roods, the evenings went smoothly and the stand-in hosts, with their new experiences, said they are up for another gig. They should take note: other restaurants may be calling.