Name: Kris Wunder
Tenure: 11 Years
Hobbies: Her Children, Paddle Boarding, Lake, Thrift Shopping, Gardening
Bio: Relationships. It’s not really what one thinks of when it comes to the restaurant business. Typically, customers will come in, get something to eat, and then leave. The nice ones leave a tip. But there’s not much more to it than that. Relationships don’t really matter when it comes to most restaurants.
But Silver Fox Steakhouse is not most restaurants. And the people who work there value the relationships they build with their customers.
Take Kris, the bartender, for example:
Kris Wunder has been working as the bartender at Silver Fox Steakhouse for 11 years. In those 11 years, she’s developed a lot of relationships – with her customers, with her fellow employees, and with her bosses. Relationships are important to Kris. In fact, that’s why she began working as a bartender to begin with.
“So I started bartending about 10 years ago,” Wunder stated. “I bartended at other places before here, and I just kind of learned ‘The Way of The Silver Fox’ from our old school bartender and then I kind of took it and ran with it in a new direction.”
Wunder said that she’s been bartending at Silver Fox for the past four or five years.
“I’ve kind of created a little spot where I fit in really well over there,” she said.
Though she’s been at Silver Fox for 11 years, Wunder has more than 15 years of experience in this line of work. In fact, she started working as a bartender before she was even legally allowed to drink.
“It kind of started out of necessity,” Wunder shared. “I was working at a different restaurant and the bartender was sick. I think I was like 20 years old and I just filled in for the day. And it kind of intrigued me, you know? Like, there are so many drinks and so many recipes and everybody has their own interpretation of it. There’s 10 million different ways to make one drink. This industry is always evolving and it keeps my mind busy.”
Wunder, like many of her bartending brethren, enjoys staying busy. They like the adrenaline rush that comes with a lunch hour rush, or a happy hour wave.
“I think that’s the part that draws you in the most,” she said. “It’s just such a challenge to do it and do it really well. And you’re kind of an unsung hero, too. You don’t have to have all the glory because you’re just back there doing the things and you’re hanging out and talking to people while you do them, making those relationships at the bar. And it’s really fun and cool to have people that are like an extended family; they’re customers but they know what’s going on in your life and they ask you what’s going on and they tell you what’s going on in their own lives. I love that aspect too.”
In fact, it’s those moments in between actually making the drinks, those moments where she can just stand behind the bar, talking and, most importantly, listening, that Wunder values the most. Her job is to make drinks and serve them. Everything else is extra. The time she spends actually interacting with the Silver Fox customers – that’s the bonus. That’s the good stuff.
“My favorite part of the job is definitely building those relationships with the customers,” she said. “I also like ‘winning overt new customers’ who are maybe only just in town for the fishing or something. I also love making the new drink menus and trying the new drinks and trying new wines, which is something I never thought I’d be doing, but I’ve always liked trying new things, so getting to share that with other people and helping to complete their meal or make it better, that’s great too!”
Relationships. Whether it’s just talking with her customers and hearing about their day, or bonding with them over a shared love of wine, or seeing pictures of their kids – it’s all great to Wunder. But it’s not just her relationships with the customers that she loves; she also loves her relationships with her coworkers and her bosses, Gina and Chef Bernard.
“They’re definitely a huge part of my life and my children’s lives growing up,” Wunder said. “They’ve watched me grow up and have children and now they get to be a part of my kids’ lives. They’re truly almost like parents; like another set of parents that I’m lucky to have. They always listen and encourage and it’s really cool to have that relationship with them.”
And, really, that’s what makes up the entirety of Silver Fox Steakhouse. It’s not just a place to eat, drink, and be merry. It’s a place that feels comfortable to walk into on a rainy night. It’s a place to bring a first date, or to celebrate your 50th anniversary. It should feel warm, it should feel friendly. It should feel like home.
“If you come and sit at our bar top, you’re not just somebody we’re gonna grab a quick order from and then leave you alone,” Wunder said. “You’re definitely gonna get questioned. We’re gonna pry you open and make you be friendly with us.”
She said that last part with a smirk and with her tongue planted firmly in her cheek, but the sentiment remains. At Silver Fox, you’re one of us.
“We have a really great team right now and even though we’re bringing in a few new people into the fold, the core of our people are just so great and everybody gets along so well,” Wunder offered. “Our new people will just add to that. And I think that is so neat and so unique to a restaurant – to have so many people that you can just turn to and chat with and catch up and just have a great evening.”
Great evenings are the norm at Silver Fox Steakhouse – it’s a place of warmth, a place of love, a place of, well, wonder.