DT Kirby’s is pretty much my favorite place in the Greater Lafayette area.
It’s a humble joint…just a small bar, a handful of tables, a tiny kitchen, a ton of TV’s, and some Cubs and Bears memorabilia.
However, it’s in this humble pub that I continually experience examples of radical hospitality.
As soon as you set foot inside the door, you are warmly greeted…especially if Don is in the bar…and Don is usually in the bar! I kid you not…it’s very much like Cheers. You walk in and your presence is recognized…in a positive manner (unlike some places when you walk in and the staff looks annoyed that they will have to actually work)…I continually wait for someone to yell out, “Norm!”
The DT Kirby’s staff wants to make sure that you have a positive experience. Whenever I’m there, someone continually checks in…seeing if everything is to my liking, if I need anything, etc. They go out of their way to do all they can to make your visit great!
And, I’m far from a regular. I can only imagine that I’d be treated like royalty if I were on a first name basis with the staff (sort of like when I would walk into the Heorot on a Friday and the bartender would start pouring a Guinness and put in an order for a mushroom pizza before I even sat down).
I’ve been in DT Kirby’s when there is not a seat available. This is when Don and his staff truly work their magic. He notices the order people come in…he entertains them and tells them that if they’ll just give him a little time, he’ll get them a seat…he gets them menu’s and drinks while they wait. Then, when something opens up, you get a seat…and he won’t let anyone snake you!
But, he has his limits…for example…don’t ask for a Jameson and Coke. He’ll simply look at you in disgust and say, “We don’t do that here. I can sell you a Jameson. And I can sell you a Coke. But, I won’t put them in the same glass!” I like that. It sort of feels like High Fidelity when Jack Black says, “Do we look like the kind of record store that has ‘I Just Called to Say I Love You’? Go to the mall!” The man has principles! I also get the impression that he won’t let you treat his staff poorly.
The folks at DT Kirby’s go out of their way to make sure you have a positive experience. And, if you are not having a positive experience, they will work hard to fix that. Of course, if your poor experience is because you order drinks like a teenage girl, well, that’s your own problem! Como hombre!
I’m continually amazed at how the staff makes each person feel like they are welcome…that they are important…and that they are highly valued. Don has a way of talking to people that makes you feel like you’re long-lost friends. He makes you feel like you are his most important customer.
To top it all off…it’s genuine. I’ve never felt like someone is just working for their tip. I’ve always felt like when I’m asked how I’m doing…the person asking actually cares…to the point that they stop and take the time to actually listen. I know, it’s crazy!
Then, your food comes out and there is so much of it that you could feed a small village. That’s the kind of hospitality that says…”we don’t want you to go hungry!”
In all honesty, every time I go to DT Kirby’s, I find myself thinking about how we can make the church feel as warm and inviting as this little pub. How can we make people feel welcome? How can we make people feel at home? How can we make them feel like they are surrounded by long-lost friends? How can we make people feel that we truly do care about them? How can we make people feel like we are concerned that they have a positive experience?
It all starts within, of course. We need to have a heart of hospitality. We have to possess a desire to look beyond ourselves…beyond our own experience…beyond our own comfort…and truly have a concern for the other.
It’s my prayer that I might be able to get out of my comfort zone and practice the kind of old style hospitality that I have experienced firsthand at DT Kirby’s.
If you’re in the Greater Lafayette area, I suggest you experience the old style hospitality at DT Kirby’s. Order a tasty sandwich (like the Uncle or the Triple Hog) or an amazing hot dog (my favorites are the Sonoma and the Sweet Carolina) and, of course, an Old Style! By the way…it’s a bar…21 and over!
Romans 12:13- “Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.”
Hebrews 13:2– “Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.”
1 Peter 4:9- “Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.”
3 John 1:8– “We ought therefore to show hospitality to such people so that we may work together for the truth.”