By Del Duduit
A reputation takes years to establish, and only seconds to ruin.
People build and earn one every day and pass it along to their children. A positive heritage is important in life. At least it is to me. I am focused on providing one for my boys after I depart this life. I want them to be proud of me and what I tried to stand for during my time here on earth. A legacy is earned over a lifetime of ups and downs.
I know the same is true for Keegan’s Seafood Grille at Indian Rocks, Florida. When it comes to fresh and fantastic seafood, it’s the best place to go, in my opinion. Their reputation means failure or success.
Angie and I just ate there this week while vacationing in Clearwater Beach. It’s our third time to gorge ourselves at this wonderful feeding hole over the years. The restaurant has been featured on Diners, Drive-ins and Dives and holds a solid stature as a local favorite. It has no gimmicks or fancy schmancy stuff. They lure you in with a friendly smile, top-notch service and mouthwatering seafood. Then they hook you and reel you in as a regular.
The waiters and waitresses sit down and visit with you. Young kids get their art displayed on the walls when they finish coloring a menu. There are several awards displayed for you to see as well as honors from Trip Advisor – which I promptly gave them an “excellent” review on when I got back to the hotel.
Follow my blog at delduduit.com/blog.
Gwena, one of the managers, spent a few minutes with us as we dined. She is from Wisconsin but moved to the Tampa/Clearwater a few years ago. “No more winters up north,” she said.
She loves her job as manager and says the locals are one of the main reasons.
“We love tourists, but really the people who live here and keep coming back all the time are special to us. We have made some great friends,” she said. “People who came here as kids, now bring their kids.”
The restaurant has been a mainstay in Indian Rocks Beach for more than 30 years. It’s the only one and is owned locally.
“It’s not a chain. It’s one of a kind,” she said. “That is why it’s so great.”
Her favorite meal there is cobia (when it’s available), but I am partial to the blackened grouper. Keegan’s is famous for its perfectly prepared grouper sandwich, which happens to be Angie’s pick.
There are seafood restaurants all over the place in the Clearwater area, but Keegan’s is always our first stop when we visit. There is a simplistic attitude there to provide patrons with a fine dining experience without busting your wallet.
More than three decades of excellent service and food preparation has been poured into the restaurant. Management has no doubt worked hard to develop a positive reputation. That is what brings people back.
As a believer of Christ, it’s also important to have a solid name and standing in the eyes of friends. One mistake or choice can destroy what has taken years to build.
Everyone messes up. But after you take responsibility, learn and vow to never make the same mistake again, you will get back on the right path. This is what makes the difference in a Christian’s life. God is one of second chances.
I’m sure over the years there have been one or two customers Keegan’s has not pleased. It’s just the nature of the beast, and some people just can’t be satisfied. But they have tried for perfection. I’ve been more than satisfied there and will continue to go. In fact, I’m planning one more dinner there later this week. If I ever get a bad meal (which I doubt) I’ll chalk it up as “one of those days.”
“A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favour rather than silver or gold.” Proverbs 22:1 KJV
Christians must have the same outlook. Give people more than one chance in life to make things right. I’m glad my family and friends have done that for me over the years.
Here are some suggestions on establishing a solid reputation:
- Be the same person you are in front of people as you are in private. Don’t be two-faced.
- Be patient. A reputation is a marathon. Don’t make things happen. See the goal and establish a pace. There will be obstacles along the way. Get through them and keep going.
- Respect others but keep your convictions. Don’t give into something you think is wrong.
- Forgive and ask for the same. There is no place for bitterness. Learn from your mistakes.
- Honor the Lord, your family, your country and the flag. No further explanation needed.
Keegan’s is not a perfect place. I’m sure there are issues I don’t know about. But my experience there has been wonderful so far. That is why I go back every chance I get.
As a child of God, I know I’m not perfect either. But I’m trying to do my best. I pick myself up when I fall and get back on the path for my journey.
Follow me on Twitter here.
Angie and I are glad we met Gwena and had the best blackened grouper around. We truly enjoyed visiting with her. The reputation of the restaurant is important to her. The same is true for us as believers. We all want to be remembered well when we leave, and we want visitors to see Christ in us.
“A good name is better than precious ointment; and the day of death than the day of one’s birth.” Ecclesiastes 7:1 KJV
Prepare yourself daily for a tourist, but treat those around you – the locals – with love and respect. That way you will see steady business and be successful in life’s kitchen.
Make sure you put Keegan’s on your list if you have never eaten there.
What does your reputation mean to you? Have you damaged it at times? You can restore it and begin reconstruction. Let me know your thoughts below.