Amanda Stout is nothing if not passionate about the serving industry.
“I believe that dining is one of the most intimate things you can do with somebody,” Stout said. “If I can bring joy to someone, if I can make their day better by helping them to choose a delicious meal, that means a lot to me.”
Stout finds her joy working at Fiddlehead Restaurant in Michigan City, where she’s been a regular fixture for the last two years after taking a short break from the job.
“I’m so glad to be back. There’s a strong feeling of connection here among the employees, a feeling of being protected. And, of course, the food here is just wonderful,” Stout said.
Though she is primarily a bartender, Stout wears a number of different hats at the restaurant.
“I guess you can say I’m sort of a ‘go-to’ kind of person here,” Stout said. “I do a bit of everything here.”
She is particularly proud to be part of a company that has a large impact on the community they serve.
“Aaron (O’Reilly, owner of Fiddlehead) does so much for the community,” she said. “He’s always out, attending meetings. He’s on several committees and he’s always donating to organizations.”
But her primary focus remains crystal-clear: it’s all about the customer.
“Even when I’m bartending, that’s what it’s all about. Whether I’m waiting on a single person, or a couple, or a group of people, I’m still there to interact with them,” Stout said. “I’m there to give them a good experience. That’s why I love it here so much — it’s just such a comfortable environment.”
Though she’s worked for some of the big chain restaurants, Stout very much prefers the smaller, family-owned ones.
“We have so many regulars who come in just to sit and visit, and that means so much to me,” she said.
“I think that it’s worth it. The prices are competitive with the larger chain restaurants, and people are starting to realize that those larger restaurants often use frozen or processed food.”
Stout said it’s not that way at Fiddlehead.
“Here, everything is fresh. People have so many food allergies now, gluten and lactose and others. That’s why it’s so important to have places like Fiddlehead, where people who have those food allergies can visit and know that they will always get a great meal that is also conscious about their particular dietary needs,” Stout said.
With so many terrific options to choose from, Stout admitted that picking a favorite is difficult.
“But, if I had to choose,” she said, “I’d probably pick the Gardner sandwich for lunch and the Citrus-Pecan Salmon for dinner.”
“It’s just so hard to pick because everything here is so good!” she continued, laughing. “That’s why I always ask people how hungry they are and what sort of mood they’re in, so I can recommend something that would really fit their needs.”
When she’s not at work, Stout focuses on her children.
“My daughter is 11, my son is 6. She’s my little helper, and he’s just so sweet. He’s my little mama’s boy.”
Stout’s belief in the importance of a good dining experience is obvious.
“Food makes people happy—you literally are what you eat. Food can affect how you feel. It’s everything.”
Plan your visit to Fiddlehead today.