Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Dolly Celebrates 28 Years at the Inn...

By Kristen Thomas

Twenty-eight years and countless margaritas later, Elaine “Dolly” Washburn continues to tend bar at the Franklin Inn Mexican Restaurant. The Inn has gone through numerous changes and occasions and Dolly has been present for most of them. She was hired by owner, Sue Cibula, in 1982 and continued working at the Inn when Sue’s son and daughter-in-law, John and Wendy Cibula took over.

First cooking, then serving, Dolly never imagined herself bartending. Then one day Noreen Cibula, John’s aunt, asked Dolly if she would bartend. Dolly said no way, but Noreen made her do it anyway.

The stories that come with Dolly’s 28 years are hilarious, shocking, and some too juicy to mention. The animation that runs across her face when telling the stories adds so much to them.

The Franklin Inn is known for their involvement with the 1999 film, Dogma, staring Ben Affleck, Matt Damon and Linda Fiorentino. Dolly said the day they filmed the movie at the Franklin Inn was hectic. Towards the end of the filming, Dolly was used in outtakes of the film. “Even three years after the movie was shot, I had customers coming into the bar asking where Affleck sat, what he touched and what he did in the bar.” Women of all ages came into the bar to ask questions and take photographs.

By working at the Inn for such a long time, she has formed long-lasting friendships with many of the regular customers and the owners. “If it wasn’t for Sue, this place wouldn’t be here,” says Dolly, “she built relationships with her employees and made it so you don’t want to leave.”

Dolly has built a few relationships herself over the years.  The owners receive many comment cards with Dolly's accolades. One long time customer says, "Dolly always knows what I like to drink and eat without me needing to be asked or order. Dolly is, well, a Doll." Frequent Facebook posts mention Dolly and her ability to make friends and strangers all feel welcomed at her bar. “She is one of the kindest and most honest people I know. I appreciate her contributions to our Franklin Inn team. I can't say enough about her,” adds Wendy Cibula.

The infamous Chorizo burrito has been Dolly’s favorite menu item ever since the Inn started serving it. She also loves the homemade Jalapeño Vinaigrette and the black bean and corn salad.

When it comes to behind the bar, Dolly’s favorite drink is the Dos Equis draft. The strangest drink that a customer asked for was a Slippery Nipple. Dolly had no idea what it was. According to Drinksmixer.com, a Slippery Nipple is ½ ounce of Bailey’s Irish Cream and ½ ounce of Butterscotch Schnapps. Many of the regulars refer to the margaritas that Dolly makes as, “Dollyritas” because they say she makes the best margaritas around. “Dolly is the Bret Farve of bar tending,” says fellow Franklin Inn bartender, David Summer.

Kristen Thomas is working towards a degree in Advertising and Public Relations with a minor in Photography at Point Park. When she's not spending time in the dark room or with school assignments, Kristen can be found at the Franklin Inn Mexican Restaurant. A newbie at the Inn compared to Dolly, you'll most often see Kristen serving or hosting. She's also spent some time in the kitchen and occasionally she fills in at the bar where she has learned from the pros how to make one of the Franklin Inn's infamous Mason Jar Margaritas.

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