For just about all of Slim Goodies' ten years of existence, Josh Enderle has been stalking the Uptown diner, taking orders and running food. The head waiter/manager has seen the restaurant through its days as an FBI hangout during Katrina's aftermath, and witnessed a menu inspired by the ubiquitous and iconic "New York diner" adjust itself to suit local tastes. A diner that started out as a stepchild of New York eateries has, over the last decade, developed its own distinct personality and become one of Uptown's most frequented greasy spoons.
How long have you been here?
I've been here ten years, starting just a couple months after we opened. I was in New York for 9/11, then I came here and did taxes that same year, and I started working here right after tax season. So, I work here for nine months out of the year, and then I do taxes during tax season. I'm also in school to get my CPA?it works out really well.
New Orleans doesn't seem to have diners the way a city like Baltimore or New York does. Do you think that gives each breakfast spot a chance to be really unique and cater to a fairly specific clientele?
I think so. She [owner Kappa Horn] fell in love with a place in New York called Elephant, which has that whole New York diner-vibe. She tried to bring that down here and then mix in the Creole food with the diner food. When she and her brother originally opened the place, it was three-times the size it is now and way more of a traditional diner. We had Reubens, we had corn beef in our hash, we had a lot of different vegetarian options, and then when her brother left, she kind of cut out a lot those excess options, streamlining the menu a little bit.
What are some of your quintessential diner foods, either on this menu or somewhere else?
Eggs and hash browns. I eat three eggs over-easy and hash browns anywhere I go, whether it's here or IHOP, Waffle House, or Commander's Palace. That's pretty much my go-to.
What about the best hangover breakfast?
It's definitely the Orleans Slammer, which is your whole breakfast only covered in chili and cheese. You get the eggs, the bacon, and then you cover it all in chili and cheese. You really do get enough grease to knock out that hangover. [Laughs] I do it three times a week so I know what I'm talking about.
What makes a great diner/greasy spoon?
Good, cheap food. You can have quick and cheap all day long, but unless it's good food, people aren't going to come back. I think a lot of our regulars, even though their cholesterol shoots up, realize our food is better than the average greasy spoon. I wouldn't recommend eating it for every meal, but it's good when you have it.
Best breakfast cocktail?
Blood Mary, extra spicy. I mean, I'll drink anything you put in front of me, but with a Bloody Mary, it just seems like a balanced part of breakfast.
What is your busiest day, and what is the busiest hour in that day?
Sunday, from probably about 10:00 am through the rest of the morning. If you get here at 9:00, you can usually sit right down, but at 10:00, you'll end up waiting for an hour. It goes from pretty slow at 9:45, to at 10:00 everyone piling out of cars to get breakfast.
What's the longest the wait has ever been since you've been here?
About an hour, but the whole thing with that is that, if the wait outside is an hour, than the wait to get your food is an hour, so, really, you're waiting for two hours. You try to get menus to everyone waiting outside so they can come in and just order. You order, have three cups of coffee, have your breakfast, and it tastes awesome because you've had to wait for so long.
Take me through your average day.
I come in at 8:00 am, and start immediately running food and waiting tables. We do a rotation on the weekdays, but on weekends, we break up into sections. It's really just waiting tables, refilling drinks as you go, and then, by 2:00 pm, you start breaking stuff down, sweeping, cleaning your tables, etc.
It's a really great place to work. Our boss is really cool, and everyone gets along really well.