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BEST SERVER 

Shayla King

Critics' Choice

It's not unusual to hear about an actress still performing after three decades or a writer or a surgeon. But a restaurant server usually leaves the business long before the 30-year mark. It is, after all, a very physical profession in addition to requiring dozens of other equally important skills (including the patience of Job). But the secret of being a successful server, Shayla King says, is "the ability to genuinely like other people." If you don't, she says, "you're in the wrong business." For 32 years, King has been in the right business — for her. King's résumé includes long runs at the Bristol, Houlihan's, J. Gilbert's and, for the past 15 years, Lidia's Kansas City. "I always told myself I'd get out of restaurant work when it stopped being fun," King says. "But it never has. I mean, it's not a grown-up job — it's a fun job. And I still like it."

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