In this fast-paced, high-turnover world, some of my favorite foodie moments are when I am recognized, at my favorite food stops, as a Regular Customer.
It makes me feel like my loyalty to their good product has been rewarded, and that I've been elevated from Faceless Anonymous Consumer to That Girl Who Always Buys One Pound of Pistachios.
Plus, the vendors then smile more and ask how I am, and that just makes for a more civil society.
Foodgoat and I are regulars at several West Side Market stands, Stevenson's (Bruce even knows our "usual"!), and Eat at Joe's. And the Warehouse Beverage, I think.
Can one be a Regular at a national chain? First of all, I wouldn't want to go to most even on an occassional basis, but second of all, with their rate of turnover, you wouldn't be recognized even if you did go often. And there just wouldn't be the same cache to being a regular at Starbucks as being a regular to Cheers.
Urban Monarch has a pretty good compendium of attaining Regularity.
Good advice include visiting the same restaurant three times in the first month, then once a month ongoing at least, bring other people there, and being generally courteous.
Foodgoat would add being looking distinctive helps with being a memorable customer, as in "That Handsome Guy Who Wears Black" and (this being Cleveland) "That Oriental Girl in Glasses".
Also, order the exact same thing every time, thereby establishing your "usual". Oh, and ask for suggestions or recommendations - they'll give you the inside track of what's good.
And in other news....
Really long teapot spouts in China!
Basil famine in Genoa!
Geoffrey Chaucer hath an Exboxe!