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The art of waiting

Waiters4
Good waiters -- no, they haven't disappeared, no matter how it might seem to anyone who has felt like just another check average.

Meet old school: Vladimir Bezak, Manny Felix, Sergio Guerra and Pablo Zelaya. Among them, they have provided more than 100 years of service to countless diners across Los Angeles, their days measured in ice-cold dry martinis and perfectly cooked medium-rare steaks. Wars (including those against calories and carbohydrates) have been waged, presidents (and chefs) have come and gone, and meanwhile, they've looked after their customers down to the last detail, special requests indulged, cups of coffee refilled.

"Good service is a craft," Guerra says. "This is my profession, it's my living."

They are, in Los Angeles, a rare breed -- career waiters, veteran career waiters. While at many restaurants it can be hard to get your server's attention when you don't have a spoon for your soup or you may have to suffer the yadda-yadda-yadda of introductions and upselling and instructions, these are consummate waiters who, always gracious, know exactly how to make you feel taken care of, without being oppressed. And though they all work at celebrity hangouts, if you're expecting any juicy stories, forget it -- when pushed, they all fall back on the famous discretion of a great waiter. Read more here.

Photo: Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times
 
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