Two big things have happened recently at Robinson Film Center/Abby Singer’s Bistro downtown. The first is that there was a little fire Saturday night that created some excitement in the kitchen. The bigger excitement was that created in the restaurant and among her legion of fans when it was announced Chef Tootie ‘Ernestine’ Morrison was returning.
Those who love Tootie know that they are not a stranger in ‘her’ restaurant. Much like the fictional bar in the TV show ‘Cheers’, when you come to Abby Singer’s Bistro, Tootie is going to know your name, and how you like your hamburger, and that you like olives on the side (of everything), and that your husband sometimes deserves only a plate with a twig of rosemary on it. That is one of the charms of Tootie. The other, of course, is that she is just darned good at what she does, which is shepherding a kitchen in the right direction, coming up with great menus and consistently creating tasty food that is memorable for all the right reasons. In 2018, there was much gnashing of teeth when Tootie left Abby Singer’s to pursue her dream of catering and private chef services. That dream took her all the way to Morocco as the winner of a Ross-Lynn Charitable Foundation Culinary Scholarship. Since her trip to North Africa, Tootie has stayed busy, but when she was approached recently by Robinson Film Center and asked to ‘please return’, it was like hearing from old friends who really-really-really need you to come home. They did need her, and she did come home. One of Tootie’s first orders of business was to set things straight in ‘her’ kitchen and return the menu that had made Abby Singer’s one of the go-to restaurants in the region. Back are
the ‘Tootie’ versions of the popular burger of the month, Caesar salad, Turkey Avocado Club and more. Also making a return is the special joy she brings to the job. It might take a little time to rebuild the customer base, to convince those who don’t think of Abby Singer’s first to do so again. If anyone can do it, Tootie can…and she’ll bring us along for the enchanting, endearing and oh, so tasty ride.