Jory Contributes to Restaurant’s Success
You’ve got to break a lot of shells to make seven gallons of scrambled eggs—630, to be exact. But that’s a typical Friday for Jory Evans, along with cutting up vegetables and preparing patties with fresh hamburger, cutting and bagging fresh breads and other assorted chores.
He loves his work at The Square Restaurant in South Paris, Maine, and his teammates love him too. Fridays are his busiest day, because he has to prepare enough scrambled eggs and pancake batter for the restaurant to get through the weekend.
“I’ve been there 15 years, and it will be 16 in August,” Jory said. “I started there in 2007, when I was still in high school.
“I like working there, because the restaurant is part of my family. They’re like family. I’m always happy when I go to work. My boss is the owner. They love having me. I’m kind of hard to get rid of.”
Scott Gilbert, the owner, said things don’t operate as smoothly when Jory is not around, such as when he takes a vacation (like last summer, when he took a trip to Las Vegas, the Grand Canyon and Mt. Rushmore).
“He is one of my best employees, I don’t even think my other kitchen people understand how important he is,” Gilbert said. “When we have to fit those jobs in, it is very hard. It is amazing how much those three days a week that Jory works helps our business. He really does a lot for us.”
But more than that, Jory is the recognizable face of the restaurant, Gilbert said. When he is not there, he is missed.
“He is very social,” Gilbert said. “He comes in around 9 a.m. and sits at the end of the bar by the front door, and he orders breakfast around 10 a.m, before starting work. When people come in, they either know him, or he says hi, and he gets to know them. With older couples, the wife will come right to the bar and give him a hug. When I walk out to the dining room, he might be standing at a table talking to someone.
“When Jory was gone for three weeks on vacation, we had people asking where he was.”
Gilbert knew Jory long before he started working at the restaurant—he was a regular customer, coming in almost every morning for breakfast with his grandmother.
“She was getting older,” he said, “and I watched her come in on her own, then with a cane, then with a walker. She was really worried about what was going to happen to Jory when she was no longer around. She asked if he could get a job here, and I said ‘sure.’”
When you talk to Gilbert, it is clear he has deep affection for Jory. So much so, he said, others on the staff say things like, “Only Jory could get away with that.” The day Jory called at the last minute and said he wasn’t coming in because he had a chance to go kayaking was one of those times.
Jory is also talkative—and very easy to talk with. Gilbert said there’s a constant conversation going on in the kitchen when Jory is working. “He’s just all around great,” Gilbert said.
Mark Schwartz is Jory’s home provider through Living Innovations shared living. He agrees that Jory is pretty easy to be around.
“Jory has a very positive attitude and a very positive outlook on life,” Schwartz said. “He is very friendly and never a negative word comes out of his mouth. People like that.”
After his grandmother passed, Jory lived independently with some supports, but the apartment building he was in had a fire. When he weighed his options, he decided to try shared living. Schwartz was an employee of Living Innovations at the time and already knew Jory, so he was ready to move into a new role as a contracted home provider. (His wife, Melani, works for Living Innovations as a team lead for the community support program.)
Schwartz said that Jory works at The Square on Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays. On Tuesday and Wednesday, a Living Innovations staff member takes him out into the community for different activities.
“I do my bowling every Wednesday,” Jory said. “I’ve been doing that for a little while.” Another activity he enjoys is volunteering at a couple of the animal shelters in the area. They’ve tried other activities, too, like hiking and tennis—Jory enjoys outdoor activities, Schwartz said, as long as it’s not wintertime. Weekends often include day trips to surrounding communities and taking in activities like a Portland Sea Dogs game. “I’m always busy besides working,” Jory added.
“He is always up for something,” Schwartz said, adding “wherever we go, he knows people.”