“Maggie had a big impact on the Little Dutch.”
So said Jamie Lambert, owner of the Little Dutch Restaurant on South Cumberland Street. Maggie Whitehead was honored Friday for her almost 40 years of service with the naming of one of the rooms the “Maggie Whitehead Room.”
“Maggie worked for the Little Dutch for about 40 years,” Lambert said. “It’s something I wanted to do to recognize her years of service to the Little Dutch and to Morristown. It’s important to embrace our heritage and history.”
Lambert felt led to honor Whitehead, although he did not work with Whitehead during her tenure there.
“The years that Maggie gave was essential to the Little Dutch,” Lambert said.
Even though Lambert has been the Little Dutch’s owner since 2019, he still values what got the restaurant to the point that it is.
“Literally, just about every customer who’s been coming here for years has been served by Maggie,” he said.
George and Nina Angelos, who owned the Little Dutch from 1973 to 2019, were present Friday morning to share their feelings about Maggie.
“Maggie was one of our most loyal and hardest working employees. The success of this place was because of its employees,” George said. “For many years, Maggie was one of those good employees that had been working here for more than 40 years. She came here in the middle 70s to follow us when Angelo’s opened up and come back to the Little Dutch when I came back here. She only retired a few months before we did.
“We all said, ‘Maggie, you cannot leave. We want to leave together.’ Maggie was one of those (helpers) we always referred to as the ‘old school’ help. The old school helpers were the ones you could depend on. You don’t have to go behind them. You rely on them completely and Maggie was one of them. Maggie had never been late in her 40 years. She had never been on time, either, as she was always here before time. She was here probably 30 minutes before her shift began.”
George noted that every day that Maggie worked, she had everything ready for the restaurant to open.
“When the doors opened, Maggie always had everything ready,” he said. “She was ready for the first customer to come in. She was not only efficient and great, but she was one of those servers that could handle the crowd.”
According to Angelos, the room renamed for Maggie is intended for two servers, but Maggie worked the room because she was very capable of it.
“She was very likeable, too,” he said. “We always referred to this room as ‘Maggie’s Room.” We always had Maggie in this one room and the customers got to learn that. They would come in and would want to sit in Maggie’s room.”
Even when Maggie wasn’t working, customers wanted to sit in Maggie’s room.
“We were more than fortunate to have Maggie,” George said. “I told Maggie many times that if I had three Maggie’s, I’d have three restaurants. She was so good. It was nice to know Maggie. That picture on the wall is well deserved.”
When presented with the honor of her picture hanging in her room, Maggie was understandably humbled.
“I knew my customers and loved them all. They did me, too. George and Nina could never find anybody else, except when I came to work for him, I really appreciated them,” Maggie said.
Maggie also enjoyed the family atmosphere with her coworkers.
“I loved all of my coworkers. I tried to do what was right,” she said. “If anybody needed any help and I knew how to do it, I did it. It was just a happy family most all of the time. Everybody I waited on were so pleasant. Nothing was wrong. It was just a thrill to see them come in. As long as I worked here, a lot of (customers) I didn’t know their names, but I knew their faces.”
Since retiring, she had been keeping her great-grandchildren at times, but a back issue prevents her from lifting children these days. She has attended First Christian Church for many years and appreciates her church family for their cards and calls.
“I’m trying to get everything straight in my life,” she said. “My son keeps saying, ‘You can’t do this, you can’t do that.’ I told him, ‘Ray, listen here, son, The Lord let me do what He wants me to do. When He’s ready for me, I’m ready to go.’”
Although Maggie had retired before he purchased the Little Dutch, Lambert wanted to honor her and the restaurant’s heritage.
“It’s something I wanted to do to recognize her years of service to the Little Dutch and Morristown,” he said. “It’s important to embrace our heritage and history. We still value what got us to this point. The years that Maggie gave was essential to the Little Dutch.”
Lambert, who has been in the restaurant business for almost 30 years, said the customers talked about the great service given by Maggie.
“She was loved by everybody. She treated her customers well and I know the employees liked to work with her because she helped everybody,” Lambert said. “That’s the kind of teamwork that I’ve always wanted to foster in my restaurant and I’m sure George was the same way. To have those relationships that were good between employees as well as between employees and customers, there is just no substitute. She’s mastered that. I’ve not heard one negative thing about her from employees, customers. Everybody loved Maggie.”