Boro Park Snapshot: Table 40
By Yehudit Garmaise
While working for his father Avrum Moshe Roth for three years at Café au Lee on Lee Ave. in Williamsburg, Tovia Roth learned to treat every customer as if he or she were the only one.
“No matter which customer comes in, my father told me to treat all customers with a smile,” Roth said. “If someone wants something changed or rushed, we do it, nicely and quickly.”
Roth’s partner, Yoely Meisels, who is a customer service expert agreed.
“For me, it is no question,” said Meisels, who previously managed “What A Bargain” on Bedford Ave. in Williamburg. “If there is any issue, I just say, ‘I am sorry,’ and I make sure the customer goes out happy.
“It is very simple. The customers are always right. Even when they are not right, they are right.”
To add a little bit more variety, elegance, and excitement to the typical milchigs restaurant, five years ago, Roth and his partner Meisels opened up Table 40 at 4001 13th Ave., which is at the corner of 40th St: the number that gave the restaurant its name.
After renovating what used to be Benny’s Pizza, Roth reimagined the dairy menu, first adding the restaurant’s popular spicy pizza rolls and pizza sticks, which are rolls that are filled with sauce and cheese, and then fried with a spicy, crunchy, delicious coating.
Customers love the pizza rolls and pizza sticks, Roth said, but what they really “go crazy for” is a pizza “rotev,” a spicy sauce with 11 different ingredients, whose recipe he brought in from Israel “for the heimish communities.”
“Since I brought it in, people are asking for it non-stop,” Roth said with a laugh. “They are crying when it is not available. They come in and ask to buy two pounds of rotev because they eat it with not just pizza and fries, but with everything else.”
If, by some chance, Table 40 workers accidentally neglect to add the complimentary containers of the rotev to customers’ take-out orders, customers will drive back to the store from the other side of Boro Park, Roth said incredulously.
“If I run out of rotev, I really hear about it from the customers,” Roth said good-naturedly. Customers can get much more than just pizza and pizza rolls at Table 40, which is divided into different parts that serve breakfast foods, bakery, salads, wraps, sandwiches, drinks, and shakes. Also, we have main courses, such as pastas and fish.
Although Table 40 offers all the standard milchig class fare, every month, they innovate and offer new items that are healthy, delicious, and heimish.
For instance, “house poppers,” which are blended potato cubes that are fried and served with a delicious sauce are one of the new items that people love.
“We are always trying new dishes out,” Meisels said. “When people like them, we keep those things on the menu.”
Roth and Meisels both grew up in Williamsburg, but they both love working in Boro Park, which Roth, who now lives in Toms River, NJ, said “is very nice community with a colorful Chassidus.”
“In Boro Park, you have all kinds of people, which is beautiful,” said Meisels, who added that Boro Park is a great neighborhood for restaurants. “I get to know so many different people, and I love it, I really do.”
“I love meeting new customers every day,” Roth said. “I like making sure people are enjoying food, and I like putting smiles on their faces.”
“Sometimes people come in, and they are really stressed and hungry,” Meisels said. “Maybe he didn’t have any food yet that day, but then he sits down and eats, and after that, he walks out like happy, with a smile, and he says to me, ‘That was good.’
“That is worth everything.”
Besides for good food that is brought out quickly, what is the key to keeping customers happy?
“Yoely and I are here every day, whenever Table 40 is open,” Roth explained. “We make sure that everyone is satisfied, we speak with people and enjoy our customers. We create a chill vibe.”
Meisels said that the key to keeping people happy is “to be available for them.”
“If someone has something to say, we listen to them and make sure that they are being heard,” Meisels explained. “I immediately take care of customers’ complaints, and then make sure that next week they won’t have the same issue.”
Getting food fast in a restaurant is of utmost importance, Meisels said.
“Maybe someone only has 20 minutes for a lunch break: they don’t have time to wait,” Meisels said. “I try to make sure: people come in, they get their food right away, they go out, they are happy, and everything is running smoothly during the day.”
In addition to getting food out fast and rectifying any customers’ complaints quickly, Meisels explained that a big part of customer service is just being sensitive to the fact that most people want and need some human connection.
“Besides for the great food, so many people come in just for a smile, or for just for a good word,” Meisels explained.
For example, Meisels remembered that for a while, an older lady, who, unfortunately, often did not feel well would come out of her way into to Table 40 once every few weeks.
“I think she used to make a stop in just for a good word,” said Meisels, who mentioned that his customer usually bought something small, but not always. “I would sit down with her, I would ask her how she is doing. I always try to do that.”
“Part of making people happy is just being sensitive to them.”
With Chanukah weeks away, Roth reminds customers that Table 40 caters Chanukah parties with innovative menus. Also, customers can order amazing dairy doughnuts in different flavors such as rosemary-chocolate, hazelnut, pistachio, cheese, and dolce de leche.
Customers should get their orders in early by calling (929) 234-5444.