Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Papouli's Greek Grill 5th Annual Partner Party

The guys at Paps pulled off another invigorating respite from the usual demands of our daily lives (like giving people extra Tzatziki or salad dressing or making sure the fries are crispy). Yesterday at Olmos Basin Park in desperately hot San Antonio, Nick Anthony, owner and CEO of Papouli's Greek Grill hosted the fifth in what we hope to be a long line of employee parties involving all three San Antonio stores, and soon to be sure, store number four.

Left: Anthony Fafutakis. Middle: Alex Mosely doing all the hard work. Right: Angels Salas

In the shade of large oak and mesquite trees, the management and regular employee partners gathered around a barbecue pit watching Operating Leader Alex Mosely make burgers and hot-dogs. We fell to the food, and the party hadn't even officially started yet. As is the case with most employee parties I've been to, the stores split up into their usual cliques. This was not nearly as much of a show stopper this year, as many of the team members from other stores have been filling in positions all over the company. Lines were not so evenly drawn this year, and as usual, the party was richer for it.

Jaime Pulido usually
looks confused when I do things
like take his picture.

Liam and his Mamma Katy
tossing the ball around.
All the usual all-stars where present: Jessica Cannon of City View and Mike Cleveland (also of City View, though briefly of The Forum location), Zain Bukhari of the Alamo Quarry location, Jaime Pulido, Zack "Moose" Heinz, Lindsey "Inappropriate" Wampler, and of course, The Irish Pirate, the Balentine nobody knows about, The Salad Maker formerly known as McGee, me. There was one star that everyone couldn't get enough of, and that was City View cashier Katy Ezzell's little boy Liam. He stole the show, then he stole the ball they were using to play kick-ball. He was the life of the party, always smiling and laughing.

Left: Kim Ingram. Middle: Jessica Cannon. Right: Mike Clevland

It was indeed hot. With the weather pushing 103 degrees, the Paps crew chilled out in the shade with plenty of water, soda, and unsanctioned beer. Kick-ball had to wait until the sun was dipping well bellow the tree line. With an hour of sun left, the crew set off to the kick-ball field, where the individual stores made up two teams, and we learned that Tony's belly is good for more than hiding towels, it takes more than one good shove to throw Jaime down, and no one likes egg on their face, especially when its lobbed at you by your managers. Even though we were lacking a fairly decent number of people from each store, we had fun anyway (except for me. I don't play team sports. I'm so ridiculously competitive that team sports make me very angry). Too bad it wasn't paintball though...I have a knack for head-shots at paint ball. I think they call it blood lust, but it might just be that unhealthy competitive edge I think I have.

As my time at Papouli's slowly comes down to the wire with each passing day, I think I enjoyed the party more than it might be expected. After five years, I don't think my leaving will be easy or dry-eyed. I enjoy spending time with my teammates, even if we will probably go to work tomorrow or the next day and try to strangle each other with our apron strings. I like to think of many of my teammates as good friends, especially Jaime and Lindsey, who seem to always be willing to listen to me and have the courage of a long friendship to tell me to shut up. Thanks Papouli's for another great employee function.

Not quite all of us. I'm the one in the purple tank top next to the guy in the
blue jersey. In my ten years of restaurant experience, Papouli's is, in my opinion
the best of places to work.

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