Two servers at an Upper East Side steakhouse won't have to fret about poor tippers for a little while, having both been the beneficiaries of one seriously generous customer. Robert Ellsworth, a wealthy art patron, left the two servers at Donohue's Steak House $50,000 each in his will, reports to Post, as a thank you for the decades of service and hospitality provided by the women. "Out of eight meals, he ate seven here," revealed Maureen Donohue-Peters, one of the waitresses. "We were his dining room."
Despite knowing Donohue-Peters for nearly 53 years, Ellsworth apparently didn't know her last name or that of her niece, Maureen Barrie, who was the other server to come into the windfall. The will was made out to "Maureen at Donohue's" and "Maureen-at-Donohue's Niece Maureen." "[He] was more than just a customer to me," said Donohue-Peters. "He was a wonderful man and a dear friend," said Barrie. According to other staff, Ellsworth regularly tipped 20% to whoever served his near daily meals of grilled cheese for lunch and sirloin steak for dinner.
Ten million of Ellsworth's estimated $200 million will be distributed to his longtime personal chef and friend; relatives and other staff will reportedly each get $100,000. There appears to have been an uptick in oversized tips recently, including the Tips For Jesus campaign and other types of pay it forward initiatives. If the city moves forward towards abolishing tipping, patrons will have to find even more creative ways of rewarding good service.