ALEXANDRIA, VA – Margaret Staples greeted and served customers every day for 36 years at Yates Table Talk, the popular “diner with a parking lot” located at 1623 Duke Street on the edge of Old Town Alexandria. It was the only job she ever had.
Margaret became a regular at the popular family diner when she was only a kid, dragging in her schoolbooks to do homework while her mother waited tables. Right after graduating high school, she started working at the restaurant. After many years of busing and serving and doing every job the diner needed done, she became a manager.
Her passing in early November was sudden and it left regular customers, and the Table Talk family in shock and sadness. The restaurant hosted a celebration of her life, and they expected a handful of people – close family and friends. “I got there early to help and to my surprise, the place was filling up before the event began,” said Elaine Kapepanakis, whose husband Nick manages Table Talk.
Before long the restaurant was packed with over 200 people that came to pay their respects. Many more sent regrets who couldn’t make it because of other commitments. “As I walked around talking to people, one theme was predominant. Margaret was kind, and Margaret was giving, and she would be sorely missed. Every person I talked to shared how she helped had them in some way. Every person talked about how loving she was,” said Kapepanakis.
She added, “According to the world’s standards, her life would not be rated as a success. She worked one job, as a waitress, for her entire life. She didn’t have a lot of money. She had no accolades to show for it. But what she didn’t have in those things, she made up for in love. She loved well. She cared about people and made the effort to show it. Her life impacted so many people and made their worlds better and brighter. The love that poured from her in that restaurant changed that particular corner of the world.”