A renowned restaurateur whose establishment occupies an iconic space a block from Chicago’s famed Magnificent Mile was tending books one afternoon, when a female employee processing carryout orders asked him to speak with the concierge of a nearby hotel who was on the phone. He took the receiver, setting the books aside.
“What can I do for ya?” he asked.
The concierge, whose name was Todd, replied,” I got a carryout order from Sharon Stone.”
“What would she like?”
I’ll call you right back,” answered Todd before ending the call.
The businessman put the receiver back in its cradle and returned to his previous occupation. Ten minutes later, the phone rang again. At his employee’s request, he folded his books shut for the second time, wiped his left hand across one’s cover, and answered.
“Hi,” he said, opting for the short, familiar greeting reserved for those with whom he was acquainted.
“This is Sharon Stone,” purred a female voice.
He incredulously came back with,” Yeah. And I’m Gina Lollobrigida!”
Not a moment later, he leaned back in his chair and laughed, expecting the transformation into the Italian actress with her hourglass figure and wavy, chestnut-colored hair. For the voice on the other end of the phone was indeed Sharon Stone’s. It had just taken a second to recognize it. Recovering himself, he inquired as to what she would like for dinner, inscribed the order on the notepad on his desk, and then told her the dinner would be sent via taxi. Room Service could bring it up.
“No,” she countered, “you bring it to my room. I’m in Room 1402.”
To quote the restaurateur, he yelped,” WHAT?!” in his bones, but his veneer stayed calm and professional. Tearing the order from the notepad, he walked toward the kitchen, but not before pulling his business card from a top drawer. Handing the order to the chef, he halted production on all else til the meal was made and ready to bear to the hotel. Lastly, he taxied over.
Images of the actress sitting cross-legged wearing little but a low-cut shirt- the spotlighted image she popularized in the 1992 erotic thriller “Basic Instinct”- flooded his mind as he rode the elevator fourteen flights to her room. He rapped on 1402’s door and a man answered. Right behind him stood Sharon Stone, without makeup, wearing a t-shirt. She was gorgeous.
“Thank you so much for delivering this to us,” she smiled.
He produced the check that had her credit card information on it, but noticed the total before having her sign for it.
“It’s only fifty bucks, Ms. Stone. Dinner’s on us,” he offered,” We appreciate you thinking of us when you’re in Chicago.”
Sharon Stone stepped in front of the man at the door with a counteroffer: “Come over, big boy, and give me a kiss.”
She “slapped him one on the lips,” while he began to sweat profusely.
Chris Lister, whose stories will be shared later in the “American Maitre D’” series, shared a story from his days at Spiaggia that will not be included in the final copy. It is a rich story and should be shared, though, as it shines a spotlight on the difficulties faced by those who are overweight, regardless of status. This is adapted to protect the identity of the celebrity.
Many maitre d’s will tell you that “The Booth is ‘the thing’.” Tucked at the skirt-hems of a restaurant, each is a haven where a notable figure can seek shelter from the “performance area” of a dining room and yet remain anonymous, albeit with prestige.
Such an actor sought a booth at Spiaggia in the ‘80’s, shortly after the successful release of a film in which he starred. These booths could boast of 6’ high walls. They were “very private,” to quote Chris. On this particular evening, this performer, not only big in terms of film but also in physical size, was led to his booth by Chris Lister.
“This isn’t going to work, is it,” observed the thespian, standing at the lip of the table and peering in to the confined space.
Eyeing his guest without judgment, the maitre d’ reflected on the moment earlier that day when he set the requested booth aside.
“No,” he courteously answered.
“How long have you been thinking about this?”
“ALL DAY LONG,” he genuinely, but emphatically, replied.
Options were quickly discussed, and the actor was led to a semi-private table.