My husband and I were disappointed when we approached one of our favorite restaurants for lunch, only to find it was closed. Strangers on the street, however, soon directed us to a pub they recommended for lunch, so we walked a little further, reluctantly. We don’t often dine in an unknown pub in an unfamiliar city.  Our hesitancy soon dissolved, however. We were drenched from our three-block walk in what amounted to a blizzard.  The pub’s greeter couldn’t help but notice this—we were quite disheveled and cold—so she seated us without asking at the table closest to the pub’s cozy and roaring fireplace.

The waitress was with us in an instant, offering warm coffee if we liked.  The strangers who had recommended the pub had suggested the burger special and that waitress was quite helpful in helping us choose from one of the many burgers on the menu.  The food and service then proceeded without flaw, and some of the best French friends we’ve ever had. In fact, we’re dreaming of going back for the burgers right about now, two hours away from our home.

To cap off this pleasant experience, as we were awaiting our credit card slip, a young man came up to introduce himself as the restaurant’s manager.  He inquired about our experience and insisted he was “honored” to have us in his restaurant. After politely asking why we were out in the blizzard, he told us a quick story about how he’d come to manage the place and wished us well as we drove on in the snow.

One description we’ve seen from experts on what makes for excellent customer service is to instill a feeling of “home” in the customer. Our hats are off to the Ri Ra Irish Pub & Restaurant in Portland, Maine for taking us in and making us feel at home.