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Tammy Boutilier, East Side Mario’s 1650 Bedford Row, 422-7100

Not everyone is cut out to do this job, and not everyone does it well. Tammy Boutilier has been at East Side Mario’s for three years—it was her first foray into the world of food service. “I love it. I really do. I love the customers who come in,” she says. Over the years she’s built up a steady clientele of regulars, people who come to the restaurant as much to see her as for the food. “I have one customer who always sits in my section and she always leaves behind a little toy Dalmatian dog for me. She’s really nice.”

Boutilier is one of those eternally optimistic types. But what about those days when you’re not at all in the mood to grin your way through an eight-hour shift? “I find that going in to work actually picks me up a bit,” Boutilier says. “Sometimes people come in and they seem a little down, and I know what that’s like. But I kind of get them to open up a bit with me, talk to me, and tell me about themselves. It makes me feel good to see people leave happy.” Damn it, there’s just nothing hard, jaded or bitter about this woman. “I like people, I’m interested in their lives and where they’re from. Sometimes I get into trouble for talking too much to my customers, but I have a lot of regulars. I get to know them and they come back to see me.”

All that’s going to change rather quickly, as Boutilier and her fiancée have bought property outside of Windsor where she plans to set up a pottery studio in an old barn out back. It’s not all bad news for the Boutilier Fan Club: “I’ve got a job at the Duke of Windsor Pub. Stop by for a visit when you’re out that way.” —Heather Nicholson

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