Often customers are quick to leave a negative review on Yelp or Google when the service they receive isn’t what they perceive to be acceptable. Often these reviews are unfair especially given restaurants are one of the hardest industries affected by the pandemic and between mandates and other restrictions and the shortage of “good help” which are all out of the control of these restaurant owners.

So, how about when you go to a restaurant and the service you receive is amazing? Sure, many restaurants employ efficient and courteous staff, but every so often you will get that server who stands out and goes above and beyond to make sure you are properly taken care of. One who is passionate about their job and exemplifies what the “customer service experience” should be. One that left such a positive impression that you spoke about them on your way home and perhaps have even told your friends about them.

Well at a recent visit to one of my new favorite spots, the Concourse Club (see our featured article on them in this issue), which is located in the newly opened Element Hotel in Wood Ridge, we were served by someone who was so exceptional he inspired me to include this feature in each issue. His name: Daniel Cadmilema or as I now warmly refer to as “Danny”.

Danny emigrated from Ecuador where he graduated as an electrical technician. He moved to American in 1999 where the influence of his Godfather and his brother Sammy, who owned a restaurant and a bar respectively, led him to start working in the restaurant business. Danny worked his way from the bottom up in positions ranging from dishwasher, busboy, food runner, server, cook, bartender, and assistant manager. He has worked in such local restaurants as Brigantino in Wood Ridge, Giuseppe’s in Closter, Amarone in Teaneck, The Hill in Closter, Gus’ Last Word in Wood Ridge, and now at Concourse Club.

We recently sat down for a little Q&A with Danny. Here’s what we asked.

What is the most rewarding part of your job?

“I really enjoy my job. I always care for my customers, and when they return, they reward me with smiles and hugs every time. I create an experience that they remember”

Tell us a little about working at the Concourse Club

“Working at the Concourse Club is just perfect. Everybody gets along from the dishwasher to the Owner. Friendly, attractive servers, amazing bartenders, powerful kitchen teammates, the managers Sommer, John & Brandon are always here tosupport us through the shift.”

How does it differ from other places.?

“Well, this is the only rooftop in the area. It’s luxurious, elegant, great DJ’s, delicious drinks, respectable service, incredible views of NYC, have you seen the Sunsets? or lately the Full Orange Moons? It is just amazing. This is a safe place. We have security at the entrance and on the floor. Andin case you had too much fun with us, there’s a hotel underneath where you can stay.”

Can you share one of the most interesting experiences you have encountered with a customer?

“I would love to! Oh, this is great….

Back when I was working at Amarone’s, it was usually full during lunch time. I had a table of first time Korean & American customers who were having a business lunch. I noticed this polite gentleman was trying to entertain, but didn’t know what to order from the menu. I suggested appetizers family style to share, along with the most popular menu items for the main course. I gave them a choice of Squid Ink Linguini with assorted seafood in a spicy tomato sauce, Double Cut Roasted Veal Chop, Rigatoni with fresh diced eggplant, mozzarella cheese and roasted garlic marinara sauce, Whole Mediterranean Sea Bass Bronzino, Braised Veal Osso Buco with gnocchi marinara, Bison Steak with parmesan cheese risotto, Baby Clams with capellini pasta in a white wine fresh herbs broth….

I could see each one of their mouths watering. Then they exclaimed “all of this for lunch?” I replied, “gentleman you can eat lunch anywhere, but here… you’re going to love it!”

Well, this group was from Samsung Electronics North America, and the polite gentleman was the CEO himself!

He was so pleased with the experience that they became regulars. We had all their managers and their teams from all over the USA coming to us, to enjoy good food, wine, drinks and personalized service. They could not wait for me to recite all the specials. It became a tradition, because they never ordered from the menu.

Based on this experience we were able to establish a great friendship from CEO Michael Maron of Holy Name Medical Center, as well as all the doctors & employees of his. We would call him “The Godfather”. He was so generous and amazing that we put his picture at the entrance of the restaurant”

Describe the perfect guest.

“I think the perfect guest is built together, with time, trust, charisma & respect. 97% of my customers are perfect, and they know it.”

We aren’t the only ones who feel this way. We noticed that Danny has many fans and customers who specifically ask for him as their server when they make a reservation.

You can experience Daniel’s excellent service for yourself along with their other great staff at Concourse Club {317 Rt 17-S, Wood Ridge; 201-710-6459; concourseclubnj.com}