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Sammy's staff serves to satisfy

By ZACH OLSON
DCN Correspondent

With his hands and forearms covered in white, powdery flower, Jamie Solem waits patiently. Standing behind the counter, his body language speaks volumes about the way business at Sammy’s Pizza has been going for the night.

His arms are tightly crossed against his chest, while his legs follow suit. His left leg, locked at the knee, rests slightly over his right and is firmly planted on the tiled floor. His stagnant stance, however, doesn’t last long.

A young server, Amanda Mertesdorf, rips a bright, yellow sheet of paper from her server tablet and sends it in Jamie’s direction.

With the ticket in hand, his eyes quickly scan it over. Wasting no time, Jamie reaches over and begins meticulously constructing and shaping the dough like a prolific sculptor manipulating clay.

He begins to transform the dough into its large circular form and confidently tosses it above his head and into the air. With his eyes carefully locked in on his target, Jamie waits for the dough to retreat back to his steady, sure hands.

Once the dough is secured, he swivels his hands underneath it, stretching it out to finalize its shape.

After applying the appropriate toppings, Jamie cautiously places his finished product onto a large, wooden pan. Taking hold of the steel oven handle he snaps it down while placing the pizza inside. Stepping away from the oven, Jamie leans back against the counter, crosses his arms and reverts back to his original posture. He waits for the next order.

As the minutes pass, Jamie chats with one of his co-workers, a pizza delivery man, seated comfortably on the padded bench awaiting his next delivery destination.

This may be downtime for Jamie, but Amanda is on the move preparing her table before the arrival of their pizza.

She comes fully equipped to the table — individual side plates and silverware on top of the orderly stack in one hand, accompanied by a pitcher of pop and drinking glasses in the other.

“I enjoy serving here,? says Amanda. “Right now I go to East High School and only work about two shifts a week, but the experience has been good so far. It’s nice to have a part-time job and have a little spending money on the side.?

Peering into the oven, Jamie assesses the quality of the pizza. Reaching to the left of the oven, he retrieves the wooden pan, grasps onto its handle and shovels the pizza up onto the pan’s surface.

“Amanda. Order up,? says Jamie.

Hearing this, Amanda adjusts her apron and makes her way toward the pick-up counter.

She reaches over toward a stack of neatly folded napkins, and comes away with a large handful along with the pizza. She maneuvers her way through obstacles that come in the form of multiple tables and chairs on her way to her table. Remarkably, she manages to accomplish all of this with a pleasant smile on her face.

At the table, Amanda raises the pizza tray above her head, making sure it doesn’t knock into the customer and carefully places the warm pan in the center of the table. As she pulls her arm out of the way, she politely asks the guests if they need anything else.

Amanda, standing over the table, looks on as the guests survey their meal; she waits quietly for a response. An awkward moment of silence follows until they assure her that everything is fine and proceeds to walk back to the server station area.

Behind the diminutive wall that acts as a barrier between her sever area and the dining room, she takes the opportunity to squeeze in a brief break.

She reaches down and grabs a dark brown drinking mug. Clutching it with both hands, she sips slowly suggesting that its contents are quite warm like coffee, hot tea or hot chocolate. She enjoys it, but only for a moment.

Her head swings over to the front door, along with Jamie and the other employees. A group of customers walk through are greeted with a welcoming nod from Jamie and a “Please Seat Yourself? sign.

The guests meander through the dining room, analyzing the best location to sit. Once they decide on their table, Amanda takes the time to make a few final checks. She adds a few straws to her apron, turns over the fresh page in her server tablet with a smile and makes her way toward her new table.