March 26, 2010

How Now, Island Cow?

“Vacation used to be a luxury, however, in today's world, it has become a necessity.”

Have you ever felt that way some days? Now I love my job and the impact I get to have on other people, but there are just some days where the vacation you have coming up can't arrive soon enough. Am I right?

Then, when it finally arrives, it seems to go by quicker than you realized. One day you're traipsing through the airport looking at the sad souls waiting in line to pass through security to leave thinking "Suckers! Have fun back at the office!" and the next moment, you're being looked at by someone who just arrived looking at you thinking the same darn thing.

I just spent the last week in South Florida (Key West and Sanibel Island) and it was a blast. We relaxed, enjoyed the beach, the pool and many of the two cities finest restaurants. Today's post is about our last meal on Sanibel Island.

As many of you who travel with family know, choosing the right places to eat is sometimes a struggle. It seems like you'll have plenty of time to hit everyone's favorite spot when you arrive but as the days start to dwindle, the number of restaurants to want to eat at outnumber the meals you actually have left to eat. It is a lot of pressure to make sure you have an enjoyable meal that last night away. Luckily for me, we made the right choice.

The Island Cow was the site of our last family dinner before heading back to the hotel for the "final night's pack." This fun family restaurant is located on Sanibel's main drag through town - Periwinkle Drive and is a very popular place for the locals as well as the tourists. It has a huge menu, a colorful decor, comfortable seating arrangement and the two things that will bring people back - GREAT FOOD and GREAT SERVICE!

The "GREAT FOOD" part really shouldn't be too hard when you're a vacation destination food establishment. People are tired, hungry and thirsty from a day in the sun. Make me something that tastes better than the stale Cheeze-Its and potato chips I scarfed down at the beach and I will gladly pay for it.

Although I didn't meet the owner Brian, I am comfortable in saying that Brian and his team at The Island Cow aren't just aiming for "acceptable food," they want to make it memorable for everyone who decides to give The Island Cow a visit.

The menu is one of the largest on the island and features everything from shrimp & grits to red beans & rice with smoked sausage and all of the fresh seafood you would expect in Florida. After enjoying a appetizer of Frickles (a heap'n helping of fried pickles) with my cold draft "beer of the day" (a most enjoyable Sam Adams Noble Pils in a large frosted mug) it was time to tackle a wonderful piece of blackened swordfish. Not only was my fish a generously large portion, it was expertly prepared. For those of you who enjoy blackened fish, you know that's not always the case.

I was so impressed by the flavor and quality of my meal, I asked our server Kyle (more about him in a minute) to take me back to the kitchen when I was done. I had to let the "kitchen crew" know that they satisfied their restaurant's website tag line - "Come in as our guest, leave as our friends!" Let me tell you...if you guys make food taste like that every time, we're definitely friends. I also know the guys in the back don't hear enough of the good comments that they may deserve for a job well done so I was glad that Kyle allowed me to stick my head back there to give them their "props" in person.

Now as many of my readers of The Realtor's Toolbox know, I am a huge supporter of places where I get "truly remarkable service." I can confidently add The Island Cow and their wonderful server Kyle to my list of places that have earned that honor. In fact, I want to give Kyle my first official CARP Award

C is for putting the customer's needs first

A is for having a great attitude about what you do

R is for respect

P is for the pride in your job, your company and your product.

Kyle, who once lived in Cincinnati, Ohio but has spent much of the last twenty years in South Florida shared with us why he enjoys his job at The Island Cow so much. "I get to be myself" was the first thing Kyle said and he went on to say he "always tries to make sure people are having a good time and enjoying themselves."

When you're on vacation or even a local resident out for a relaxing meal, that's what it's all about.

So to my new friends Kyle, the hard working crew in the kitchen, Brian the owner and all the staff and servers at The Island Cow, thanks for the "udderly great food and service."

Until next time...Build Relationships...Solve Problems...Have Fun...and

don't forget the sunblock!