Good evening from the City of Trees! Tonight, the Wash­ing­ton State Democ­rats are cel­e­brat­ing Labor Day and the 2012 Demo­c­ra­t­ic Nation­al Con­ven­tion with a spe­cial evening recep­tion at one of Char­lot­te’s best eater­ies… Mac’s Speed Shop, renowned in Char­lotte for its beer and barbecue.

Mac’s is ours for the night, and we’ve tak­en full advan­tage. We have live music, mul­ti­ple sets of buf­fet tables, and a pavil­ion out­side (adja­cent to the patio) to ensure that nobody who wants a seat need go with­out one.

Mac's Speed Shop sign
The sign for Mac’s Speed Shop, locat­ed in the South End neigh­bor­hood of Char­lotte, North Car­oli­na. (Pho­to: Andrew Villeneuve/NPI)

We are din­ing on some of the most sump­tu­ous mac­a­roni and cheese, pulled pork, veg­gie burg­ers, and hick­o­ry smoked beef brisket I’ve ever tast­ed, with banana pud­ding and warm choco­late brown­ies for dessert (yum).

Now, this isn’t a food blog, but I’d like to take a moment to say a few words about the place that makes the tasty appe­tiz­ers and entrées we’ve been feast­ing on. With­out a doubt, the folks here at Mac’s put a lot of thought into run­ning a top-notch estab­lish­ment. That means excel­lent ser­vice as well as excel­lent food.

As any­one who dines out fre­quent­ly knows, great ser­vice makes great food taste even bet­ter. I’m hap­py to say that the staff here at Mac’s go out of their way to take care of their guests. The chaf­ing dish­es are looked after, so that the buf­fet nev­er runs out and the food nev­er gets cold. Emp­ty dish­es are prompt­ly removed from tables, and it’s rare that more than a few min­utes go by with­out a serv­er ask­ing us if we liked the food and if we need anything.

Of course, a lot of what I just described is what I’d expect at any restau­rant. But Mac’s gets an espe­cial­ly high grade because its staff are so friend­ly and wel­com­ing. They go the extra mile. And that’s what makes the difference.

Delegates listen to guest speakers at Mac's Speed Shop
Del­e­gates, alter­nates, and guests lis­ten to invit­ed speak­ers at Mac’s Speed Shop. Speak­ers includ­ed rep­re­sen­ta­tives from the two event spon­sors, Microsoft and AT&T. (Pho­to: Andrew Villeneuve/NPI)

Wash­ing­ton’s del­e­ga­tion, by the way, is incred­i­bly diverse. Every region and every con­stituen­cy in our fine state is rep­re­sent­ed here in Char­lotte, and it’s a very hap­py, mer­ry group. The del­e­ga­tion is like a big fam­i­ly whose mem­bers look after each oth­er. Infor­ma­tion and logis­tics for the del­e­ga­tion are expert­ly han­dled by the state par­ty office, led by Jax­on Ravens and Shaw­na Ousse. We have them to thank for this splen­did evening recep­tion… they thought to secure for our state this out­stand­ing estab­lish­ment and even to ensure that we have our own shut­tle bus so we can all get eas­i­ly to and from our con­ven­tion hotel.

Tomor­row promis­es to be a full and long day. There are more cau­cus and coun­cil meet­ings sched­uled for the morn­ing, and in the late after­noon, the con­ven­tion will be gaveled to order by Los Ange­les May­or Anto­nio Villaraigosa.

Dur­ing the evening pro­gram, we will hear from First Lady Michelle Oba­ma and San Anto­nio May­or Julian Cas­tro, among oth­er dis­tin­guished speakers.

We will con­tin­ue to offer live cov­er­age of the 2012 Demo­c­ra­t­ic Nation­al Con­ven­tion all day tomor­row. We invite you to tune in and fol­low along on C‑SPAN or PBS, which have the best and least-inter­rupt­ed cov­er­age of the proceedings.

About the author

Andrew Villeneuve is the founder and executive director of the Northwest Progressive Institute, as well as the founder of NPI's sibling, the Northwest Progressive Foundation. He has worked to advance progressive causes for over two decades as a strategist, speaker, author, and organizer. Andrew is also a cybersecurity expert, a veteran facilitator, a delegate to the Washington State Democratic Central Committee, and a member of the Climate Reality Leadership Corps.

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