Diner manager George Tsatas talks about the night shift in Wicker Park

The manager of Clarke’s on Damen talks about his customers, diner downtime and boredom
Photograph: Martha Williams
By Jon Graef |

George Tsatas, 43, third-shift manager at the year-old Clarke’s on Damen, right down the street from Damen, Milwaukee and North in Wicker Park

What’s the key difference between being a third-shift manager and being a manager during the day?
The most important thing is that you have to be a lot more patient. Obviously, it’s a different crowd at midnight than at 10am. Most people are coming in from the bar, and you have to have a little more patience and be more relaxed.

Do you get bored easily when everything’s going smoothly?
It’s kind of like mixed feelings. You want things to go smoothly, but then you do get bored. You find things to do. You find something to do while you’re here. Cleaning the refrigerator, the coffee machine. You find things to do to keep busy.