Jennifer Byrom co-owned the Travelers Club International Restaurant & Tuba Museum in Okemos in its heyday. Byrom’s experiences with the iconic restaurant will now be shared in a new book that has just launched on Amazon.
“Tastes and Tales of the Travelers Club International Restaurant & Tuba Museum” is part cookbook, sharing guests’ favorite recipes from 1982-2002. It is also part anecdotes of a quirky, popular local restaurant, and reflections of Byrom’s own life leading up to her time there. It will also share the history of the location and the story behind the emergence of a small, independent business.
Byrom said she was asked to write a cookbook for years, but doing it while running the restaurant wasn’t going to happen. Once she finally began on the rough draft, she realized she need to share personal tales as well.
“I finally came to understand I had to talk about me too, since the Travelers Club and I were pretty much glued together,” Byrom said.
In the book, Byrom shares memories that revolve around her relationship with her employees — from love to anger to irritation to amusement.
“I coined a phrase relative to work ethic: I want perfection; I expect less; if you don’t try, you’re toast,” Byrom said.
Asked to describe a memorable experience, Byrom shared a tale of an incredibly busy Sunday afternoon when the restaurant was standing room only.
“Customers were irritated because the food was slow coming out; serving staff were frantic, cooks were doggedly maintaining in a defeated manner,” Byrom said. “Suddenly four students from Okemos High School, who were eating lunch before or after a performance somewhere, stood up, pulled out their violins and violas and began playing a piece of chamber music. These kids were accomplished musicians. The whole room went still; then with a sigh, we all started up again calm and sufficiently renewed to finish the day. Bless their hearts. That’s community.”
Byrom now lives on a farm in Perry, where she is looking forward to hosting pop-up food parties with live music at her property with the goal of offering proceeds and emotional support to local musicians and owners of small businesses.
You can find her book on Amazon.
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