Margaret King Celebrates her 26th Anniversary
Service is as much about stamina as the expertise it helps inform. Meet Margaret King, one of the longest-serving employees and a senior staff member at one of the busiest restaurants on the Mobile Causeway. She has been a fixture in the hospitality industry for a remarkable 44 years. And at age 73, King affirms working is a privilege and pleasure for her and insists she’ll continue to serve until she can’t any longer. Even in a global pandemic, her work ethic has prevailed.
Having recently celebrated her 26th anniversary as a lead server at the Original Oyster House, King is passionate about serving, is popular with her coworkers and is much loved by regulars who ask for her by name. Whether you are a Gulf Coast native or a fatigued tourist, King has a unique ability to put you at ease. Multi-tasking while connecting with guests is her hidden knack for cultivating patrons. Her capacity to identify with her customer’s needs distinguishes her from the forgettable server who fails to leave any imprint at all.
Finding her career in service began as a personal favor. In 1977, King helped a good friend who was recovering from surgery, by running her restaurant in Washington County. Serving others came as naturally to King as having to raise her two boys as a single mom. As service to others has defined her career, it has been an existential reality as well.
King arrived in Mobile, Alabama in the early 80s with her young sons. She experienced a seven-year stint at Wintzell’s Oyster House until she lost her position as assistant manager when the restaurant closed down in the mid-nineties. Only a week passed before King was handing out resumes along the Causeway. Yet kismet appeared when King met up with Original Oyster House founder David Dekle in the restaurant parking lot. Having known Dekle, King effortlessly asked him for a job. He replied back, “The people here don’t quit, they make good money. I can only give you maybe three days a week.” King knew that was a foot in the door. And although at that time it seemed like “trying to get on at the White House “as she recalled, King was hired and never looked back.
As a lead server, King has mentored generations of wait staff, bussers and managers. Her code to live by is to lead by example. This has paid off as she considers coworkers to be family. Her staying power and physical resilience has been vitalized by extensive walks with her best friend Pam and the occasional double shift. She admits sweets are her downfall. She enjoys meeting guests from elsewhere but cherishes her regular customers. She acknowledges the goodwill from the pandemic, appreciating the extraordinary satisfaction of knowing that patrons stood by the restaurant.
Considered one of the best in her profession, King admits she wakes up every so often worrying about a forgotten cocktail sauce or a misplaced napkin. The impact of any profession might be measured by the frequency it occurs in ones dreams. King is decidedly a dreamer but a pragmatist as well. King cannot shake her profession in either regard, nor would she want to.
The Original Oyster House (OOH) has two locations, Mobile: 3733 Battleship Parkway, on the Causeway and Gulf Shores: 701 Gulf Shores Parkway on the Original Oyster House Boardwalk. Both locations offer spectacular waterfront views and have been celebrated as the area’s finest family restaurants for the past 38 years. For more information about the Original Oyster House, please visit www.originaloysterhouse.com or call 251-928-2620.