It was quite a surprise for a D.C. restaurant after a patron leaves them a $2,000 tip.
A man, a regular at Blue 44 -- a restaurant in upper Northwest Washington -- who favors gumbo and beer, left a very generous gift during his last visit. Christofer Nardelli, the owner of the four-year-old restaurant, said the man comes in often, and has always been a good tipper, but this time he way overdid himself -- he left a $2,000 tip on a $93 bill after he and his friend had dinner consisting of fried chicken, gumbo, and Old Chub Scotch Ale, according to the Washington Post.
It wasn't until several hours after they left that the bartender Laura Dally noticed the receipt with the unusually large tip included. The customer had even left a note on how the money was to be split -- $1,000 for chef James Turner and $500 each for Dally and Nardelli. He also added, "Thank you for the gumbo!"
"I was in utter shock," she said. "I was completely speechless. I had to do a double-take."
Dally said she confronted her boss and told him they needed to talk. They went to his office, and she showed him the receipt with the note.
"I didn't know what to say," Nardelli recalled. "This is the kind of stuff you see in the restaurant business that happens to some guy in the Midwest or the West Coast," he added. "You think, 'Who are these people who give these extraordinarily generous tips that just made a server or bartender's day.' And then sure enough, it happened to us."
Nardelli has refrained from providing the name of the customer to protect his privacy, but says he frequents the restaurant at least a few times a month. He also said that he, Turner, and the patron often email each other about the food and beer selection, according to The Star.
Turner recently emailed the customer, asking him to give him advance notice on when he was coming in so that he could make the gumbo he preferred. He emailed Turner back and told him he would be in Monday. Turner then made the gumbo and waited for his arrival.
According to Dally, the customer came in with his friend and jokingly chanted, "Gumbo! Gumbo! Gumbo!" After they finished their meal, he requested some gumbo to go, and Turner provided several quarts "on the house."
The next day, Narelli sent the customer an email thanking him for the extremely generous tip, to which he explained why he left it.
"He said he's very happy with what we've built and that he's proud to be a customer," Nardelli said. "I'm very happy to express my gratitude in that way," the customer added in the email.
"It's flattering," Nardelli said. "It's nice to see somebody appreciate what we do and they're willing to leave something like that for us. It's hard to believe anyone deserves a tip like that."
[Photo via Blue44 website]