Good Food & Great Company: A Story of the Monday Back Table

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Good Food & Great Company: A Story of the Monday Back Table

There are lots of reasons for society to dislike Monday. For those of us working, Monday is the first day of the work week - time to jump back into the grind. For those retired, it’s the day all the good restaurants are closed.

But for me, it’s not unusual to get to the end of a week and realize that Monday was the best day of my week. It’s no surprise why; easily 95% of my pure Monday joy comes from the Back Table in the Grill.

The Back Table is physically just an aged light oak rectangular table located in the center of the Grill Room at the back of the Club. But spiritually, I think the Back Table (also called the Members' Table) is the living heart and soul of the social aspect of the Club. Basically any weekday, one can show up around 4:30 PM to enjoy a beverage and a small group quietly completing a crossword or finishing an important section of the paper. The numbers swell after 5:00 PM and the chatter grows. People catch up on the latest club news (always known by the brain trust at the Back Table hours before it’s announced), debate a new club policy, share life updates, or debate the latest change in the markets.

I sat down with Kevin Brayer, a long time member, to learn more about the history of Mondays.

EG: There are four other days of the work week, what’s so special about Monday?

KB: The Club's kitchen is closed on Mondays, and the only staff are in the gym and one bartender in the Grill. To supplement the ever-present goldfish and peanuts, one member (or sometimes a group) volunteers to bring food. Sometimes it’s homemade, sometimes it’s pizza and wings, sometimes there’s dessert, sometimes amazing cheese, and sometimes a chef friend whips up 40 pounds of Spanish paella in the Saturn kitchen. The other days of the week, the Club supplies pizza on Tuesdays, finger sandwiches, or experiments with a new dish in miniature. No RSVP needed for Back Table any night of the week. You show up when you can and you leave whenever you choose.

EG: So I’ve been digging through my copy of One Hundred Years trying to figure out when the Monday Back
Table really started. I’m thinking it essentially started 45 years ago. Meal service ebbs and flows with the times, but there’s documentation that in October 1975, evening meal service on Mondays was discontinued. How close did I get to the start date?

KB: Haha - well, you’re not close!

EG: What? Is it older then?

KB: Monday Back Table is very new actually. It's three to four years old at most. You’re correct that there have not been Monday dinners for a long time, but the kitchen was still open for breakfast and lunch. During lunch time, the kitchen staff would make some sandwiches and leave them in the fridge for folks to grab Monday evening. What changed was that the kitchen was closed the whole day Monday, so no more fridge sandwiches. Behind the Bar

EG: Was a committee formed to organize the Back Table?

KB: No, it started very organically. There was no food at a time when people were at the Club and hungry. So Ken Olena had pizza and wings delivered one week, and Ange Fatta had the same thing delivered the next week. Other folks raised their hands after that and we haven’t missed a Monday since.

EG: You know, I don’t remember the last time I had pizza and wings on a Monday.

KB: Monday has definitely evolved. Monday became a much bigger deal when members started cooking or bringing take out. It’s more personal. It’s fun when your week comes up - you let other people know it’s your turn, and encourage them to come. We end up bringing more food than what the fridge sandwiches provided which opens itself up to a larger group of people.

EG: The Back Table, and Monday in particular, is a big differentiator between Saturn and other clubs. I’ve never heard of anyone at the Buffalo Club volunteering to bring food for other members. I think it speaks to a deeper camaraderie here. If you think of something fun, start it and share it. History starts on the first day (as George Terhaar always says).

KB: Absolutely and can I also say, I don’t think we can write this article without some kind of highlight on the food. The food is really great.

EG: The food is amazing!! Well I, for one, have learned a lot about Monday Back Table. Kevin, thank you so much for your time and I'll see you at the Back Table!

Courtesty of Tara Wisniewski & the Wisniewski clan

Steve Kane with guest chef, Hector Castillo


• Thai Food
• Indian Food
• Homemade Bread
• Chili
• Peruvian Mountain Stew
• Sushi Platter
• Spaghetti
• Sausage Stromboli
• Pulled Pork
• Chick-fil-A
• Mediterranean
• Jambalaya
• Charlie the Butcher
• Roast Beef Sliders
• Spare Ribs
• Coffee Toffee Pie
• Bill Daux’s Grandmother's German-style Potato Salad & Baked Beans (with local honey)

Posted: 9/8/2021 9:51:41 AM by Elizabeth Graves & Kevin Brayer | with 0 comments

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Welcome to the Saturn Club's blog. Here you will find stories about our club, our members, and more! These stories will cover a wide range of topics that represent what our members and staff find interesting, even if it is not directly about the Club.
The Saturn Club
The History of the Grill Room
Special Food & Beverage Nights at Saturn
Good Food & Great Company: A Story of the Monday Back Table
Fall Sports at Saturn
Card Playing & Other Games of Chance

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