FAYETTEVILLE, AR—According to waitstaff sources at Martha's Café on Garland Avenue, the restaurant is getting absolutely slammed right now, a turn of events that occurred without any warning or logic, and reportedly shows no signs of letting up.
"This is insane," said waitress Clarissa Oakman, 24, as she filled an empty tray with water glasses. "Seriously, Tuesdays are never like this, ever. This is insane."
Added Oakman, "I just looked over at Kim [Hassett], and she gave me this look, like, 'What the fuck?'"
Staff members confirmed that around 8:45 p.m., they watched in increasing alarm as three parties of four and a party of six entered the eatery in rapid succession, followed by five more customers at 8:47 and another party of four at 8:52. Since that time, sources claimed, three more customers have also sat down to eat, a development that has left employees in a frantic state and with few options for dealing with this shit.
Assistant manager Ben Frosher told reporters that the staff was entirely unprepared for such a sudden and large crowd of customers, noting that they now regret allowing line cook Nate Bloomberg to go home early.
"Man, we could really use [Nate] right now," said Frosher, who was in the office doing paperwork when the unexpected rush began. "And then Pete called in sick again. Of course."
Any hope of maintaining a "normal" evening shift was now out of the question, Frosher said, and although hostess Laurie Gilbert was supposed to clock out in 10 minutes, that was "definitely not happening."
"If [manager] Ron [Bergmot] wants to get on my case about the extra hours, fine," Frosher said. "He's not here. He's not seeing what we have to deal with."
Kitchen sources claimed that line cook Jim Zwieck has been hit the hardest by the out-of-nowhere crowd of hungry customers. Zwieck is said to be alone in the kitchen with as many as five backed-up orders, and has reportedly not taken a cigarette break since 15 minutes before the first batch of dinner-rush tickets started to come in.
"Jim's in the weeds right now," Frosher said. "I wish I could help him, but I've got to go to the basement to get ice, change out the tanks for the soda machine, and then try to do some of these dishes, or else we're going to run out of clean bowls."
Frosher also admitted to being a little afraid of Zwieck.
Multiple theories for the unexpected slamming have been brought forward, including the end of some kind of sporting event, a big public rally or gathering happening nearby, sheer happenstance, and the fact that it's a nice night.
According to Frosher, Martha's Café employees will likely only be able to do the bare minimum of their usual next-day prep duties, or else be stuck in the restaurant for up to two hours after closing.
"If I have to, I'll just write a note saying things got crazy," said Frosher, ignoring the phone that has been ringing off and on for the past five minutes. "They can't expect us to do all this extra work after closing. That's ridiculous."
As of press time, Martha's Café has run out of the chipotle-barley soup and the vegetarian chili, the self-bussing station has dirty dishes and glasses piled up to dangerously high levels, and an eight top has just walked in through the door.