Alexander Chee on a Life in Restaurants

June 22, 2020

As restaurants make tentative steps towards re-opening amidst a pandemic, The New York Times asked writers such as Sloane Crosley, Samantha Irby, and more to reflect on some of their most memorable restaurant experiences. Alexander Chee remembers his time as a waiter, particularly when he (almost) met his favorite childhood author. “Working in a restaurant in this part of New York is like starring in a film about yourself where the extras are all stars,” Chee writes. “I waited on Diane Sawyer, Connie Chung, Barbara Walters, Greg Louganis and Conan O’Brien, among others. One electrifying night, as I picked up the signed check from the table, I saw the name Madeleine L’Engle—the author of a favorite childhood novel—and looked up, but she was already gone, whisking herself across the street to the opera, and universes beyond.”

Image credit: Riyadh Al Balushi

is a writer and illustrator. She is the author of two illustrated books, Last Night's Reading (Penguin Books, 2015) and Sanpaku (Archaia 2018).

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