Work We Do: Carolyn Keller, Cliff’s Elbow Room in Jamesport

I’m Carolyn Keller and I work for Cliff’s Elbow Room on Main Road in Jamesport, N.Y., and I have been here since 1970, ’71. I am a server. 

A normal day here is you come in, you do your setup, make sure everything is done right. You come out and you greet your customers, you wait on your customers and you go back to check on them to make sure everything is OK.

I love my customers. I try to make my customers comfortable. This is a family restaurant. I have customers that come in with little babies and if the babies are acting, I ask them if they would like me to take their child so they can enjoy their dinner. I’ve held so many babies here. I just love my job. I really do; I love my job.

I have customers that come in here and only want me to wait on them and that’s an honor. It’s an honor to be loved that much. And I show them love. I hug everyone that comes in here.

Before I started working here, I was working at a diner on the South Fork. One of the girls who worked here told me to come in and apply for a job. I came in dressed in heels and skirt because it was an interview. One of the girls said to me, “Don’t just sit there come on and help us.” So I did. I was running in and out of the kitchen with spike heels on. And I’ve been here ever since.

It’s amazing isn’t it? Forty seven years, 48 years, being in one place, being loved. It’s family here. One year we even all had Thanksgiving dinner here, everybody who worked here brought their children here and we ate together.

I think I’ve grown more in the last few years by being more outgoing with my customers.
I don’t have family in New York, except for my son, so this is like a family to me.

“The Work We Do” is a Riverhead News-Review multimedia project profiling workers on the North Fork. It is made possible by Peconic Landing. See more photos on Instagram @riverheadnewsreview.