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By Gia Miller

Photography by Justin Negard

Waiters/waitresses are the world’s oldest influencers – they tell us what to eat (and drink) whenever we dine out. And we often take their advice without watching hours of their videos to determine if they’re trustworthy. We sat down with some of our local influencers to get to know the folks who influence our choices.

Aran O’Leary
Server, 11 years
The Blazer Pub, North Salem

What is it like being an influencer?
I don’t really think of it that way, but I guess I’m the one who has the information. I have the background to say who is cooking and what you should order depending on who is cooking. But it sort of makes me laugh that anyone would listen to me. I have three adult sons, and they still don’t listen to me!

What is your number one rule when making recommendations?
I always try to ask them what they like first. And I let them know what we’re known for.

Best recommendation you’ve ever made?
It’s always the Cape Cod Reuben – it’s the best sandwich. People are always so pleasantly surprised. If they start asking questions about fish, and I can tell they’re going in that direction, then I say, “You will love the Cape Cod Reuben.” And they do, 100 percent of the time.

What do you wish more people would take you up on?
Try our soups. They can be hard to describe, but they’re really good. We make a chicken tortilla soup that is so good. The other one is to get a smaller order of the fries. Someone will say, “I’ll have a medium fries.” And I’ll tell them, “I’m pretty sure you don’t want that.” But they’ll insist. And once they get the order, they’ll say, “Wow! I should’ve listened to you.”

Please give me at least one recommendation you wish you could make.
Have the dessert! Because we don’t serve dessert.

What’s the coolest thing that’s ever happened at this restaurant?
We have a person who comes in and anonymously gives money for veterans to buy drinks and food. They leave money every once in a while, especially around Veterans Day or Memorial Day. And then sometimes other veterans will pay it forward.

What is your favorite dish?
The Celsius burger, which is made with Swiss cheese and bacon. It was the first thing I ever had here. The first time I came here was with my college boyfriend, who later became my husband, and my future father-in-law. We came here to scope the place out because my future in-laws were thinking about buying it, which they did. I remember that we had a giant plate of French fries with a whole bottle of ketchup. The burger still tastes exactly the same today.

Editor-in-Chief at Connect to Northern Westchester | Website | + posts

Gia Miller is an award-winning journalist and the editor-in-chief/co-publisher of Connect to Northern Westchester. She has a magazine journalism degree (yes, that's a real thing) from the University of Georgia and has written for countless national publications, ranging from SELF to The Washington Post. Gia desperately wishes schools still taught grammar. Also, she wants everyone to know they can delete the word "that" from about 90% of their sentences, and there's no such thing as "first annual." When she's not running her media empire, Gia enjoys spending quality time with friends and family, laughing at her crazy dog and listening to a good podcast. She thanks multiple alarms, fermented grapes and her amazing husband for helping her get through each day. Her love languages are food and humor.