First off: sorry, reader. Last week a little too much life and a little too much Blues Fest hit yours truly and I wasn’t able to churn out five things that happened. Additionally, a lot of the excitement around the Smokehaus has been ongoing and pinning down five things that weren’t just a continuation of a previous post or a too-early preview of something upcoming was a tall order. “Excuses, excuses,” you are surely thinking, and you wouldn’t be far from the truth. So, without further ado, here’s some exciting news for y’all.
- We have a new mail order director! And gosh is she great. Olivia’s first shift was this previous Monday, down in ye olde sandwich shoppe, just to put her through the wringer and familiarize her with our product and customers right off the bat. She comes to us from a management position at Va Bene, and also spent some time working for Northern Waters Restaurant. The mail order director is a big position to fill and she has had a strong start thus far—infectiously enthusiastic and highly credentialed, you’ll certainly be hearing more about her soon (perhaps a profile blog, perhaps written by me). We’re glad to have Olivia on the team.
- We have a new floor! Our third-floor office renovation is complete. I have been filling space writing about the new floors, wall, and sink, and I am ready to quit doing that, but expanding our food-prep capabilities is huge for us. For those of you who remember our deli being half the size it currently is—I will never forget bumping shoulders and stepping on toes every thirty seconds for a seven-hour shift—that is kind of how balancing our standard food production, daily prep, mail order packaging, and catering prep has felt. The lack of carpet should also improve our spontaneous company broom ball games.
- Blues Festival happened! Those of us who work the grind in our deli and on the sandwich line frequently field the question, “is it always this busy?” Yes and no. Here at NWS, we don’t really have off-days or off-seasons—maybe halfway through October through halfway through November, then again in February and March, but that hardly constitutes a season—but some Summer weekends are just crazy. Blues Festival happened to fall on a very beautiful Duluth weekend, and Canal Park was popping from Thursday night all the way through Sunday (and a few hundred hangers-around on Monday who kept us on our toes). Fortunately, Blues Fest attendees are quite the amiable crowd, and these dog days went by mostly without a hitch. Thanks for your enduring patience with us.
- We have added more haus-made bread to our menu! This one caught me by surprise. While slinging sandwiches on the line, I noticed our white bread was no longer pre-sliced, so I checked in with our diligent baker, Jerry. As it turns out, we are now fully-stocked with his fantastic white bread, and he is baking more every Wednesday. It’s available as a substitution for any sandwich, but is perfectly suited for the Motherlover (our “kids” sandwich) or a grilled cheese—which we have long improvised, but have now officially added to our menu.
- We finalized the line-up for our 20th Anniversary Party Afterparty! And all of the bands are NWS-affiliated. For those of you who weren’t aware, there is a lot of talent outside of the culinary arts among our staff. We have visual artists, writers, and musicians among us, and it’s definitely a point of pride for the company. More details about the party and the afterparty are forthcoming, and we’re pleased to have a Smokehaus star-studded lineup in place. Both events will be free and open to the public. Stay tuned for an official announcement in the next couple of weeks.
There you have it. Plenty more things have been going on around NWS this week, but I’ll leave you with that. Oh, and since I missed last week, here’s a bonus thing that happened:
Bonus thing 1. Dino Force Five narrowly escapes the Yakfolk Village at Ironslag! At the weekly meeting of our unofficial company D&D campaign, our adventurers had taken on a reconnaissance mission for the dwarves at Citadel Fellbar. In exchange for a lot of gold pieces for successful gathering of information about the return of fire giants to the forge at Ironslag, and a tower built for us if we returned with the head of a fire giant, we headed toward the mountain. In our typically unsubtle fashion, we landed our airship near a thatched village near the summit, and were quickly greeted by several yakfolk who insisted we meet their leader. Long story short, we fell for a trap of hospitality and were nearly drugged into a comatose state. One among us succeeded a constitution saving throw, and quickly consumed a potion of detect thoughts to discover the true intentions of the yakfolk leader. A heated battle ensued which temporarily banished our archer to the astral plane and nearly killed us all, but through clever strategy, very good dice rolls, and again polymorphing our halfling rogue into a Tyrannosaurus Rex, we were able to overcome our foes and escape on our airship. Next week we will collect our gold pieces, and perhaps return more surreptitiously to face the fire giants. (Photo included not from most recent session.)