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3 questions with Kayla Jones, Mattie's server

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Mattie's (24-hour) Diner has become the Q.C. sweet-spot for a burger and fries chaser — after a late night and a few too many. Late-night server Kayla Jones has worked a rotation of day and late-night shifts at Mattie's Diner since it opened in August. Jones admits her quirkiness is how she makes her tips. According to Jones, being "an oddball who isn't scared of putting herself out there" is also how she is able to deal with Mattie's late-night patrons. Although Jones, a Charlotte newcomer, hasn't yet found her groove in Charlotte, it hasn't stopped the Georgia native from adding her own swagger to the old-fashioned establishment.

Creative Loafing: What items do you normally recommend for your late-night guests?

Kayla Jones: I always recommend fries. Inebriated people love items involving fries — you can't go wrong. I end up selling more burgers, fries and shakes at night than breakfast items. You would think that most people wouldn't want to mix alcohol and milk, but I have come to find they do.

What is it like dealing with the inebriated patrons, after the clubs close?

It is bittersweet. Bitter because it is easier to piss people off over small stuff. Sweet because little things that you normally wouldn't find funny, they find hilarious. As a late-night server, you need to walk a thin line of entertaining [the guests] but not making them upset. I have witnessed a few verbal fights. I have yet to encounter a fist-fight. If a brawl ever did occur, Big Will — a 6'4", 250-pound cook and shift prep — is there to calm them down or toss them out. Of course, you will always get a few sketchy characters and pervs — a wide range of folks. After the Nas and Damian Marley concert, three guys kept pestering me for my number each time I passed. I had to keep telling them that I forgot it even though they knew it was a lie — you have to learn to ignore people like that.

When you go out to eat, what is something a server does that drives you nuts?

I don't like when servers don't even try to make an impression on me. I hate when they are generic — "Hi, my name is Tiffany. Thanks for coming out. What can I get you to drink?" That bothers me; I'd rather them have a personality. That is what I like about Mattie's — it's non-corporate so I'm able to be myself. Normally, I would get discriminated against for my tattoos and gages but Mattie is laid-back and personable. If you can't tell, I'm sort of like the waitress from the movie Waiting: sweet and cool when she waits on people but if they make her mad, she goes to the back and blows up.

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