A Lalime’s Fare Thee Well Ramble
Dear Lalime Friends and Family
It’s been 35 years since we opened our doors in late Spring 1985. We’ve built a strong bond with you our guests, most of you became dear friends and extended family. Harvey with his one liners, Tsipa with dinners for us at their home after we finished work at midnight. Bonnie and Steve had a Seder at the restaurant and made fun of me for not knowing what sea gefilte fish came from. When Herb and Mitzy came to dinner, she’d say you couldn’t wipe the smile off of Herb’s face all day in anticipation. Thank you for the first restaurant write up by Nelson Polsby
when we were tiny on Solano Ave., then Stan Sesser’s Chronicle review.
Best memories of Joe and Phil who sat at table 18 every Tuesday and argued about ancient politics over sweetbreads and lamb tongue, Ellen wrote us poetry, one couple named their daughter’s middle name Lalime. I believe there is something in the galaxy named Lalime -a black hole named the Lalime’s theory, since LBL meetings were held at the restaurant (at table 22 ). Thinking of Bennett and Margaret waiting for us to have duck or sweetbreads on the menu……
I officiated Tom’s wedding at the top of the stairs next to table 22 as well as Cindy’s sister, Suzette to Lawrence. Cindy cried when she read her farewell letter to my mother, Nevart, from the same spot at Mom’s memorial luncheon.
Happy and sad occasions, graduations, weddings, bar and bat mitzvahs, birthdays, christenings, memorials, funerals with the entire U.C. marching band playing for Chester Zinn (table 18 is named after Chester). Thirty five Christmas and New Year eves, Mother’s Day Buffets, special seasonal dinner events, wine maker’s dinners, annual mycological society and pinot noir blind tastings nights, lobster dinners the night before Thanksgiving (whence our PR leader said it was the stupidest idea ever, who eats lobster in November, it’s the wrong season!) but, yes, we were booked solid every year.
Until 2009 Mom peeled garlic, folded napkins, opened the doors, accepted deliveries and went shopping at Monterey market daily (Bill and Judy were with us at her memorial lunch).
My brother, Hratch, measured twice and built everything at least once, from the entry way to the AC system, he even hosted for a while, till he realized it was too expensive for him to work for no pay as a host and deplete his Barolo stash from his own cellar that he brought to share with the staff. My sister-in-law, Leslie did maintenance and organizing for so many years with Tod our friend and fix-it-man while both of them had to take care of their elderly parents.
I’ve come to the realization that time has passed by when I tell the story of when Vahe, my brother-in law (and one of original owners) sang Avanti Popolo with Peter Weir at 1 am (1986?7?). Our staff’s reaction now would be, we’ve heard a lot about Vahe, but who is the other guy you mentioned, sorry Peter, and what’s that song all about anyway?
Mark was everybody’s Dr. Mark, but he only made espresso for me! Thanks to Carlo from
Mr. Espresso Coffee we always had the best oak-roasted organic coffee beans. Monterey fish
sent us the best sustainably caught fish. Thanks to all our small farmers especially from Yolo and Sonoma and other counties. To all our venders who gave us credit when times were hard, a thank you.
The earthquake hit and fires raged, many of you came to “shelter in place at Lalime’s”. When the Bears lost to the Cardinals, we had to deal with the smug faces of the foreigners from Palo Alto, and WHEN WE WON, oh boy, it was a sea of blue of gold, no foreigners would dare to come!
We’ve been around since Ronald Reagan was the president, vinyl records were still on everyone shelves, rotary phones with 20 foot tangled cords. When times were before email and we mailed out a newsletter by bulk snail-mail…We started all this as our kids were little : Laney was 1, Aram was 4 and Cindy and I barely 30 yet….
Thank you, to Auggie, Michael Rose, Frances, Steve, George, Nick, Ezra, Anthony (Tony P), Phil, Josue, Johnny, Tony Miguel, M16, Omar, Stacy, Dinah, Kara, Delia, Judith, Brian, Amanda, Maria, Ari, Katharine, Suzanne, Astrid, Ollie, Aaron, Cindy C and Pam, of course a special thank you to Stephen S. for teaching me the value and love of wine, Balsamico and Olio. Many more unmentioned names on the long list, but not forgotten and I know deep down Omar and Tony Miguel are true besties, they’ll realize that one day.
I could keep on rambling as I usually do, but after 35 years even I have learned that there’s a limit.
Well Covid 19 has made the decision for us, Lalime’s is retiring.
We would have liked to bid you Adieu in person, but the masks and the gloves are in the way.
Thank you all for being part of our lives, to Khajag and Hildy and Narsai who mentored us, to Andrea and Vahe with whom we started with and an amazing thank you to Tricia who we finished with, we’ll see you on the streets of Berkeley once the masks come off.
Haiganoush, Barry, Hratch, Leslie, Cousin Nina and Haig, we could not have made it this far without your unwavering support and love. And to our children who claimed they grew up in the back yard of Lalimes while we worked and later of course they joined us to work and ran it with Cindy while I was recovering from my illness.
Regrets: only one, my dad (Baba for us) never got to see it.
And now in the words of Harvey Peskin it’s “ FETA ccompli”
Manak Parov – Stay Well
P.S. I would have written too but Haig said most everything important except
1) reminding you of why we named the restaurant “Lalime’s” as our Lalime family were all girls (six) and we wanted the name to live on (luckily there are still a few cousins in Maine and other states and in French Canada carrying on the name). My father Ronald Lalime was proud of this.
2) Thanking all the people who helped us financially Jon R, Jon & Katharine, Jody Lalime & Bernie (first loan ever), Amy Lalime & Sung and Cousin Krik
3) We will especially miss all our regular customers…. you know who you are!!!!!
Love and Hugs
Cindy Lalime Krikorian
2019 © Lalime’s Restaurant