Kiss The Cookbook
After 37 years of daily specials, inventing and serving her own recipes and brutal, 12-hour days, Perry-Sherin is closing the book for good - The Cookbook. It's time. She's tired.
"It finally caught up with me," Perry-Sherin said. "I never thought I was as tired as I was. The doctor had to tell me. I just did what I had to do, but you can't be in that kind of business without working and working hard."
The 79-year-old has decided to retire and close her restaurant, and she is selling the building, at 1216 Broadway, to Everett's Fraternal Order of Eagles. The Eagles sold their building to a developer and will nest at The Cookbook in mid-August.
The Cookbook, a longstanding north Everett landmark, will close Thursday, so there's still time for one last plate of ribs with homemade barbecue sauce. "Actually, the one that brings 'em in for 37 years is the pot roast, believe it or not," Perry-Sherin said. "We do an excellent job on it."
After Perry-Sherin moved to Everett from the Midwest, a divorce left her a single mother with four children to support on a restaurant hostess' salary. "Restaurants don't overpay. There was no way I could support my kids on that," she said.
She heard about a restaurant for sale in north Everett, but because she was new in town, the owner wouldn't let her buy it without a cosigner. Her boss at the restaurant, Jack Sherin, stepped in.
"I was lucky he would go for it; it was such a risky thing," she said. "But I knew I'd make it. I wasn't going to disappoint him."
The restaurant she bought was called Deb's and had been part of a failed chain of 21 Washington and Oregon diners. She renamed it The Cookbook, and opened Nov. 8, 1968. "It was so slow that I wanted to cry, but I said, 'Nah, it's OK. It's OK,' " Perry-Sherin said. "Every day business increased, even if it was only by one customer. It took a long time to build up."
Her son, Michael Perry, a former manager of The Cookbook who is now a technology instructor at Everett Community College, said things were tough for years. "It was brutal. She was there seven days a week; she practically lived there," he said. "There were periods of time that she had a cot in the back."
As if things weren't hard enough, running her own restaurant and raising four children, Perry-Sherin got grief for being a woman in charge. She built a business in an era when women weren't supposed to be strong leaders, her son said. Perry-Sherin said she encountered resistance, and people often told her she would fail. "Mostly men, but some women, too, could not stand to have a female boss, and especially one that would correct or teach them how to do something," she said. "Naturally, in my restaurant, I wanted them to do it my way, which they resented."
Perry-Sherin is known for having a generous streak a mile wide. She has taken her loyal employees on all-expenses-paid vacations. She made sandwiches for homeless people wandering though the alley behind the restaurant, and on rainy days would invite them in for soup and to wait out the weather. Her son said she was quick to help anyone in need who crossed her path, whether it was an employee needing a place to stay or a family in need of a meal. "She grew up basically in poverty, so when she actually started making money, she was very aware of people in need," Perry said.
Her daughter, Robin Toussaint-Helland, manages The Cookbook, and said her mother always has been generous. "She loans people money knowing she'll never be paid back. And to this day, she feeds her employees. The employees have never been charged for a meal or a soft drink," Toussaint-Helland said.
Gloria Peters, The Cookbook's bartender of 33 years, said Perry-Sherin is like her big sister. "She taught me how to stick up for myself," Peters said. "When I first came to work there, she told me, 'When you grow up, I want you to be just like me.' Now she tells me, 'You didn't have to learn so well.' "
A few years back, Perry-Sherin married Jack Sherin, and the two live in Marysville. "He was my best friend for years and years, and it seemed like something I had to do - to get even with him, maybe," she said, and laughed.
The biggest lessons she's learned were to have patience and be good to employees. And she wishes she would have spent more time with her kids. "If I had it to do it all over again, I wouldn't really work so many hours," she said.
Reporter Jennifer Warnick: 425-339-3429 or email@example.com
Dan Bates / The Herald
Glory Perry-Sherin, founder of the Cookbook restaurant in Everett, says goodbye this week after 37 years.