Detail image for July 2023 We See You Sis Editorial Pick story.

The Capital Grille Managing Partner Petru Bester.

An Evening to Remember: When a TW staffer made her birthday dinner reservation, one restaurant manager served up a night she would never forget.

Written by Rocko Jerome | Photographed by Kylene White

When Today’s Woman Relationship Engagement Specialist Nikki Ervins had a birthday to celebrate last month, she chose The Capital Grille, a newly-opened restaurant near Oxmoor. “Both of my sons are servers there,” explains Nikki. “Although the boys were working, I still wanted to be around all of my children.”  When her party of four arrived, one of the hostesses immediately left the desk to distract her sons. Another hostess led the group to their seats – bypassing the lounge and sneaking them into a private room set for six. “I had not requested a private room,” says Nikki. “I was so surprised and delighted.” Next, the hostesses led her sons, one at a time, into the room to dine with the group – a surprise even to the two of them who thought they were still working. “I immediately got teary-eyed,” says Nikki. “That manager didn’t even know me, but she truly went above and beyond to create a special experience for me and our family. My heart was so touched. – just full of joy and appreciation.”

Petru Bester, the managing partner who set this special surprise in motion, explains the story this way: “I noticed Nikki made a reservation, so I called her to see if she had any special requests and found out that it was her birthday, and her only request was to see if her sons could serve her table that night. Soon after, I received a request from her sons to be released early that night if possible because it was their mom’s birthday. Of course, our entire team started crafting a plan to make this a night to remember.” So, on the night of the reservation, Petru secretly phased them both off the clock and asked if they could team up on one last private party before heading out early for the night. “When they entered the private dining room, their mom was waiting … but we surprised her, too, when we told them all that they were officially off the clock and could sit down to enjoy dinner together,” says Petru. Everyone in the restaurant rallied to make the night extraordinary.”

While Nikki was almost overwhelmed by the heart-warming gesture, Petru considers this kind of attention to service a job requirement. “I take a lot of pride in holding this managing partner position as a woman in the restaurant industry, and I never take a single day for granted,” she says. “The Capital Grille does a great job celebrating diversity and developing talent. I pay that forward by making sure that every guest and every team member is celebrated. The group is very eclectic, and it’s exciting to see diverse people grow within the company.” Petru started as a host in Philadelphia with a female managing partner, who is now her director. She finds both of their trajectories as women in the restaurant industry inspiring and her forward momentum shows no sign of slowing. It is fueled by her passion for providing extraordinary moments. “We get to create ‘wow’ moments for our guests daily,” says Petru. “I am delighted to provide these elevated experiences for the community of Louisville.” 


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