Chef's Table - Fresh perspective

Topher Payne is one of several snappy, fresh-faced counter staffers — and the night manager — at Midtown's MetroFresh, which opened in September.</
I am calling you a counter staffer vs. a waiter. What do you call yourself?</
We call ourselves the MetroFreshuals. [Owner Mitchell Anderson's] goal was to have a really relaxed atmosphere where everyone feels like a regular customer when they walk in. He removed the normal veneer of most food servers and gave us permission to be ourselves.</
Still, there must be challenges doing what you do, eight hours a day.</
The first post-traffic crowd can be difficult. All they want is Mitchili and breadsticks. If we are out of breadsticks, I have to talk them off the ledge. That's a lot riding on a breadstick. I take a breath, walk away, bitch with the sous chef and then come back.</
I understand you and several of your colleagues are actors.</
This is a full-time gig for me, but I am also a semi-working actor and writer. I am going from playing an Amish reverend to a heroin-addicted, transgendered prostitute. The actor/waiter is the best stereotype of an artist in the world.</
How are the two jobs similar?</
Actors are good at leaving their shit at the door. When they show up, it's time to play a character, whether you've been evicted from your apartment or your cat has leukemia. That makes for an excellent customer service rep in any industry.</
I think soup positively affects a person's mood.</
We have a woman who comes in every day for lunch and dinner, and has since the third day we opened. We can set our watches by her and we look as forward to seeing her as she does to seeing us. That's the wonder of this experience.</
And everything changes daily.</
That's why our client base has become so loyal so quickly. The menu changes every day — there's always something new for the staff and customers to experience. Not to put too fine a point on it, but we stay fresh. The process of discovery works on both sides of the counter.</

Where to Eat
Food Events