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Episode 22: Lint in Their Blood

Updated: Nov 24, 2020

Donald Struminger and son David are the second and third generations of a family business that's been operating since 1934. While you might not give much thought to the tablecloth and napkins at your favorite restaurant, this episode will give you a new appreciation for the history and the innovation that underlie these integral aspects of many fine-dining experiences.


David Struminger, President & COO at Virginia Linen Service (left), visits Alvin and Brady on The Check podcast.



Episode Transcript


Brady Viccellio

If you've ever wondered about what goes on behind the scenes at restaurants, then you're in the right place. This podcast takes you inside the minds of restaurant owners, chefs, bartenders, servers, basically anyone who has anything to do with food, drink or hospitality. I'm Brady Viccellio, owner of Steinhilber’s restaurant, and La Bella Italia on Laskin Road in Virginia Beach. Welcome to The Check podcast.


Alvin Williams

And I'm Alvin Williams, cohost of the check and owner of Cobalt Grille restaurant at hilltop in Virginia Beach. Welcome to our podcast, we'll be talking about restaurants, people who work in restaurants who own restaurants and people who like to dine in restaurants.


Brady Viccellio

Food, drinks and service are at the center of any restaurant. But there's a lot more that goes into a restaurant experience than just what's on the menu. Many restaurants set the scene before any food or drinks ever arrive with a crisp tablecloth and a fresh cloth napkin for your lap.


Alvin Williams

To help tell the story of how linen products make their way to the table, The Check welcomes Donald and David Struminger, owners of Your Linen Service. The company was originally founded as Virginia Coat and Apron Supply Company by Irving Struminger and his two brothers Moe and Henry in 1934 in Petersburg, Virginia. Today, like so many of the supply chain businesses required to make a restaurant run smoothly, Your Linen Service acts as a partner as much as a service provider.


Brady Viccellio

So we welcome David and Donald Struminger to The Check.


David Struminger

Well, thank you. We're happy to be here.


Brady Viccellio

Happy to have you.


Brady Viccellio

Donald, you're joining us remotely from Arizona. So it's an honor to have you both. And it's exciting to have your son here and have you remotely.


Donald Struminger

Thank you for the invitation.


Brady Viccellio

So where are you in Arizona?


Donald Struminger

In Scottsdale.


Brady Viccellio

I hear it's gorgeous.


Donald Struminger

Well, if you like the desert. We've had people from Virginia Beach come to visit us and they don't like it. You know, you don't see any trees. You see cactus.


Brady Viccellio

Donald, I know that the first thing you do when you come into my restaurant is grab the corner of the tablecloth and you flip it over and you make sure that it's yours and you check for improper crease lines. Do you do that when you're out of town?


Donald Struminger

Yes, I do.


David Struminger

And you kick the matts.


Donald Struminger

It's called getting lint in your blood. You get lint in your blood, right?


Brady Viccellio

Your business has something in common with Steinhilber’s, in that we're both part of family-run businesses that have been around since the 1930s. Can you tell us some more about that history? And what the business looks like now?


David Struminger

I think you have us beat by a few years, right?


Brady Viccellio

No, we're 1939 so you have us be by five years?


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