3/28/2013 12:39:00 PM

A Day in the Life: Clinton Tedin, Lenoir's Head Waiter/Manager

The dapper, knowledgeable fixture at small-plates restaurant Lenoir knows his stuff. Tedin worked with heavy-hitters in town like Dai Due as well as Fino before heading over to chef Todd Duplechan’s South First spot. All of the waitstaff there is great, but if you’re lucky enough to sit in Tedin’s section, you’ll be in for a real treat, with thoughtful wine recommendations and impeccable service. Here’s what his typical day looks like.

7:30 - 9:45 Fugly, one of my cats, wakes me by draping himself over my face (Milton, the other, is too polite for that). I get them fed and toss them outside to do whatever cats do all day. Now that the livestock's taken care of, I make my own breakfast:  a pot of Earl Grey, OJ, a couple boiled Richardson Farm eggs and an improbably large stack of buttered toast, heavily marmaladed. The radio is on KMFA, and I've got my laptop out for my emails and news blogs.

9:45 - 1:15 Time for the garden: today I'll be repotting some of my more tender plants - keffir limes and a couple bay trees. I save lime leaves to give the guys in the Lenoir kitchen. I'm finishing putting in tomatoes and some herbs, and take some oregano and sage to dry indoors. It's been a mild winter - even a couple basils and my Thai pepper made it without freezing. After I garden I get ready for work.

1:15 - 2:15 I meet up with a charming young lady for lunch. It's my turn to pick, so we're at LA Barbecue, down on South First, near Lenoir. I'm having the El Sancho sandwich: brisket and house-made sausage with sauce and pickles. Hold the onions - I'm dealing with the public later.

2:15 - 3:00 I walk in to work. I'm earlier than usual, because today I'm trying out recipes for a spring rose punch to serve in our backyard. I've already narrowed it down to four variations. Once they're prepped I get Todd [Duplechan, co-owner and chef] and Jessica [Maher, co-owner and pastry chef] to try them out with me. Where's Todd? In the back, washing dishes. I persuade Chef to abandon the glamour of the dishpit for the drudgery of drinking wine…

3:00 - 4:00 Three punch recipes have been voted off the island. We have a winner. Time to sweep and mop the dining room, set tables and otherwise get front of the house ready for service. Johnny Cash on the stereo helps.

4:00 - 5:00 The remainder of the staff arrive, and front and back of the house sit down for family meal at our 10-seat communal table. That El Sancho sandwich isn't leaving much room for the fish curry, which is a shame. We make plates for some of the kitchen guys who still have prep to do for service. 

5:00 -10:30 Our first guests arrive, and I'll be running around taking care of folks, polishing silver and glasses, etc., for the next six hours or so. The communal table and our table for walk-ins will be my section tonight. The 32-seat restaurant fills up quickly.

10:30 - 11:30 Todd wraps up his 12-hour day at the restaurant. We've got a few courses left for our remaining guests, but we're done taking tables for the night. While service winds down, we do the wine inventory and start straightening up the front of the house.

11:30 - 12:30 Our last guests of the night have left, and cleanup now begins in earnest. I do the end-of-the-night paperwork and computer work, and by midnight or so we're ready to turn off the lights. I lock the door.

12:30 After hours with some of the loveliest food in Austin, I'm starving. So here I am, at home eating a fried egg sandwich over my kitchen sink. Glamorous! Soon after, I'm calling it a night, while Fugly and Milton plot world domination from the foot of the bed.

Need to get in touch with the Zagat blog in Austin? Email Megan Giller at megzagATX at gmail dot com.


  1. You bastard! I thought I was the "charming young lady for lunch," but I'm a vegetarian! As big a fan I am of yours and Lenoir, I'm sure I'd hit it off with Megan Giller due to her recognition and appreciation of true quality and talent. Well done!
    Tiffany R

  2. I actually thought it was Tiffany as well :) Love seeing you here Clinton-congratulations and well deserved! I am a huge fan of the Clinton Tedin Experience.
    I have to come by Lenoir and see with you with the charming Tiffany R. soon.
    Love, cheers and all the best!
    Kerri Madden Curtis