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At a glance
Winners from Monday’s Waiter-Waitress Contest, part of the 45th Annual Fort Wayne Newspapers Three Rivers Festival:
•First place – Trolley by Dolly team of Teri Zielinski, Michelle Adams and Jennifer Rasler from the Trolley Bar
•Second Place – Team Sauced of Jimmy Mitchell, Cassie Swaim and Jessica Roman from Applebee’s on Coventry
•Third Place – Just the Tip Keep the Change of Kurt Morland, Chris Blake and Stephanie Henry from Chop’s
Source: Three Rivers Festival
Chad Ryan | The Journal Gazette
Catie Barry, top center, busses one of the two judges’ tables during the contest. Hundreds of spectators lined the competition area to watch the action.
three rivers festival

Trolley Bar out on top

20 teams battle for highest honors at annual Waiter-Waitress competition

Chad Ryan | The Journal Gazette
Erica Witt, of the team Applebees Queen Bees, hustles toward the serve table during the Waiter-Waitress contest on Monday at Headwaters Park.

Tumbles and spills are part of the job for waiters and waitresses and weren’t absent from the Waiter-Waitress Contest at the Fort Wayne Newspapers Three Rivers Festival.

Nearly 20 teams of three competed for cash prizes and bragging rights on Monday afternoon in Headwater’s Park.

Teams went head-to-head in two rounds of competition – setting, serving and busing tables manned by judges and volunteers who evaluated their speed, precision and pleasantness.

“We’ve had all kinds of messes in years past,” said Justin Meisner, event chairman.

A three-member team from the Trolley Bar came out on top and with an extra $450 in their pockets.

Taking second place and the $300 cash prize was Applebee’s Coventry; third place and $150 cash went to Chops.

Last year’s winner was Don Hall’s Triangle Park. The group returned this year and was joined by other Halls restaurant teams. One of those teams was the Hall’s Angels team of Danielle Cruz, Sara Hofeditz and Kaylee Kloer were from Don Hall’s Hollywood location at Coliseum Boulevard and Lima Road. They donned matching pink T-shirts for their team’s uniform. Cruz said the team signed up this year because they thought it’d be fun and for the chance to win the prize money.

“We tried, tried to go quick,” Cruz said, out of breath after finishing one round.

The team had a lead on its opponent when two water glasses tumbled off Cruz’s tray.

“I felt like I let my teammates down,” she said.

Hofeditz and Kloer assured her that wasn’t the case. Kloer said it’s important for Hall’s employees to be out in the community and participate in activities like the contest to get the family-owned restaurant’s name out and attract customers.

Meisner said there aren’t many contests like this one for waiters and waitresses

“It’s an event that honors and creates competition in an industry that doesn’t have much,” he said.

And year to year teams often look very different, so no one team has dominated the contest, Meisner said.

The Trolley Bar will also receive a plaque to be displayed in the restaurant.