Almost all of the restaurants and tavernas in Crete are relatively small family run businesses, which, when combined with the legendary generosity of Cretan hospitality, makes drinking, dining and socialising in Crete such an enjoyable experience. You regularly find that presiding over a great many of these establishments is a (sometimes formidable) matriarch type figure, cloaked in black, whose word is to be taken as Gospel. These women are often direct relatives of the restaurant proprietors, and pass on their culinary skills – particularly expansive knowledge of Crete’s rich history of traditional cuisine and recipes, and are even known to lend an expert helping hand in food preparation when the moment calls for it. Even when not directly related to the establishment (and I’m not sure whether this lady is or not, but I did see her sitting at this restaurant quite regularly), it is often the case that older people living near tavernas and restaurants are warmly welcomed.
These people have lived through the German occupation of Crete during the Second World War, the struggle between Communism and capitalist politics that embroiled the Greek mainland in civil war, the development of the tourism industry as an important segment of Crete’s economy, Greece and Crete’s accession to the EEC (now EU) in 1981, the arrival of the Euro in 2001, and now the Eurozone crisis and Greece’s austerity measures. All of which tends to qualify them for an opinion or two, something this waitress appears to be on the receiving end of.