Manfred Wangard, waiter at Grill on the Alley

Manfred Wangard, a native of Düsseldorf, Germany, won’t tell us his age, but he’s got to be the oldest waiter in Chicago. He’s also one of the funniest. You may remember him from the now-closed Biggs, but he’s still kicking at Grill on the Alley (909 N. Michigan Ave.; 312-255-9009).

Do you have a faithful following?
I have a lot of customers who appreciate me and ask for me. They always want some new jokes, so I have to be a little updated.

OK, let’s hear one.
Herbert von Karajan and Leonard Bernstein were the greatest symphony conductors of all time. They met at the Met in New York, and Bernstein looked at von Karajan and said, “Herbie, I had a dream that God told me that I am the best conductor of all time.” Von Karajan said, “Lenny, I don’t recall that I would have made such a remark.”

We hear you have a good acronym for Cobb salad.
If somebody asks me about the Cobb salad, I tell them to visualize a sign: EAT COBB. E for egg, a for avocado, t for tomato, c for chicken, o for onion, and the two b’s are bacon and blue cheese.

Anything else?
If people ask about a side of spinach at Grill on the Alley, I say, “We’ve got the creamed spinach, sautéed garlic spinach, or the tasteless steamed spinach.”


Photograph: Anna Knott