Oprah Winfrey dined at The Crown Grill on Broadway Monday night, according to restaurant co-owner Christel MacLean.
Winfrey was in town to surprise two Skidmore College students who graduated from the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls in South Africa, MacLean said.
A representative from Skidmore College called the restaurant to make a reservation for the star and the students, and there was a follow-up call from Winfrey’s assistant in Chicago, MacLean said.
The restaurant was already spruced up for Skidmore’s parents weekend, which had just ended, but “we definitely gave it some extra love knowing that she was coming,” MacLean noted.
MacLean alerted Monday night’s patrons that a special guest would be coming in but didn’t say who, and only told the server who would be assigned to the star’s table whom he would be waiting on five minutes before Winfrey’s reservation time.
At 7:30 p.m., wearing jeans, boots and a white shirt, Winfrey arrived with the two girls and her bodyguard. She and the students were seated in a private dining room, while her bodyguard was given a table directly outside the room.
Salads were ordered, along with filet mignon for the girls, MacLean said.
“She told the girls she was going to pick on their steaks, too,” she recounted.
MacLean said she was touched by how caring Winfrey seemed to be.
“It was just really cool to see how focused and dedicated she was and it was really [the students] first. It was almost like she was a mom wanting to hear how her kids were doing at school,” she said.
MacLean was unsure what sort of a tip Winfrey left for her server but said, “I do know that my server was extremely happy and I know that she was really happy with him, so I’m sure it worked out really well.”