Her name has practically become synonymous with the Palmerton eatery at which she works.

That's because for the past four decades, Alice Kegel and Bert's Steakhouse and Restaurant have been joined at the hip.

On Tuesday, the Palmerton Area Chamber of Commerce celebrated Kegel's 40 years of service with the restaurant.

Kegel, who has served as the main waitress for Chamber meetings over the past 15 years, said she was "surprised" by the celebration.

"I had no idea," Kegel said. "I just love the town, love the people."

Following the Chamber luncheon, a special cake was presented to Kegel, along with a gift.

Even after all these years, Kegel said she continues to feel a strong sense of gratification from her job.

"I like working with people," Kegel said. "I just enjoy coming to work, and love my job."

Asked what message she had to share with her customers, a giddy Kegel was rather blunt in her response.

"Keep on coming back," she said. "I hope to be here for 50 years."

Chamber President Peter Kern praised Kegel as a real asset to the restaurant.