Bobo's Bistro

Submitted into Contest #141 in response to: Set your story in the lowest rated restaurant in town.... view prompt

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Fiction Funny Friendship

My Aunt Barbara (aka Bobo) always wanted to have her own small cafe where she imagined would be crowded every day with locals enjoying their day with good food and friends. For years she hosted Sunday dinner and everyone always said the food was so good she needed her own restaurant. She beamed at those words, and literally took them to heart.

The thing you should know about our family was this. They were liars, all of them. They wouldn't agree with that statement because they didn't consider it lying. They told themselves that they were making the family member feel good about themselves. When cousin Agnes was told she could sing she entered herself in a singing contest and was told by the judges that she sounded like a hyena in labor. It broke her heart, and she asked why they had told her she could sing. One uncle said the judges were tone deaf and she should follow her dreams.

So, when Bobo inherited some money she decided she was going to do it. She was going to follow her dreams and open a restaurant. Her first step was to find a suitable location to open it. She searched for weeks and finally stumbled upon this place she deemed perfect. It used to be a bookstore/coffee house. She paid the rent, furnished it with tables and chairs and a state of the art kitchen. Now to decide what vibe to go with. She wanted to serve simple food, maybe some wine. A bistro, yup that's what she went with.

Her menu had basic food such as meatloaf, fried chicken, pork chops and fried fish. She would have simple sides such as mac & cheese, potatoes and gravy, pinto beans etc. You get the picture. Now I was thinking with a name like Bobo's Bistro she would serve items more in a bistro type theme. She was describing a country diner, I told her so and was told she knew what she was doing.

Fast forward to opening night, where she was doing the cooking and Aunt May was manager and cashier. She hired all relatives. Billy Bob was serving wine in his flannel shirt and jeans. Orders started coming in faster than Bobo could handle it and she got flustered. One customer complained that the chicken tasted like rubber. Another said the fish was the worst he ever tried to eat. Even a child said they wouldn't eat their mac and cheese because it was gross.

A critic wrote a story for the newspaper and said it was the worst restaurant he had ever visited. He stated the food was awful, the wine was sour and the employees looked like they were picked out in a police line up. Billy Bob was most upset about that because he had just gotten out of jail for drunk and disorderly the weekend before. He told Aunt Bobo he would personally go there and mess him up. She assured him she was fine and not to worry about it.

She had a team meeting and told everyone she needed help to get this bistro going. She decided everyone should wear white shirts and black pants. Everyone needed to shower, I think that shouldn't have been an issue. She picked Hazel to help her in the kitchen. I had never tasted any of her cooking but Bobo seemed happy about that choice. They prepped, everyone showered and they were ready to open.

The first thirty minutes seemed to be going well. Food was coming out of the kitchen looking and smelling good. No complaints were brought up. Until, one lady stood up and walked toward the kitchen. Billy Bob stopped her and asked what she wanted. She said she wanted to talk to the owner. He said no because she was busy. The lady insisted, and Billy Bob put his hands across his chest and yelled at her to go sit down! Bobo did come out of the kitchen at this point and the lady (who was the mayor) said he was very rude and she would never come there again. That flustered Bobo, who went back in the kitchen, turned the heat up on the oil for frying fish and whoosh, a fire broke out. She started yelling, "FIRE...FIRE...Everybody out!" Everyone started to panic and run out of the restaurant pushing and shoving along the way. An elderly man fell down and people were jumping over him. I went to help him up and they knocked into me about knocking me over. I got him on his feet and went back inside to find that nobody had bothered to put out the fire. I grabbed a fire extinguisher and put out the blaze.

All the employees/relatives filed back in and held another team meeting where I expected Bobo to tell us she was done. But no! She said maybe she would change tactics and have a diner instead that only opened for breakfast and open 6-11.

So, Bobo's Bistro became Bobo's Diner and launch day arrived to a crowd of fifty people. I guess they were curious to see what this crazy lady would do next. Well, she didn't disappoint. She added baking powder to her biscuits, a LOT of baking powder and they were huge! You had to cut her gravy with a knife. Shortening had fallen on the floor and Hazel went skating across the floor into Billy Bob who dropped a tray of jelly donuts. Bobo fell on the donuts and was covered in strawberry jelly. She went out the kitchen door in search of a mop and customers saw her covered in red and thought someone had snapped, and for the second day in a row people ran out in panic.

Everyone looked at Bobo, who suddenly started laughing hysterically. We all joined her in laughter, and then asked her what her next step would be. She stopped laughing, looked intently at us all and said "I want to thank y'all for helping me with my dream, but I think I'm done with the restaurant business. I thought it would be fun and profitable. And even though I will have some fun memories I don't think I made one red cent. I think I'll go on a cruise." We all looked at her and told her that was the best decision she could have made.

So, even though she had the worst two day restaurant in history, there is a happy ending. She met someone on the cruise and they were married.

April 08, 2022 20:12

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