Northwest Military Blogs: Served blog

Posts made in: 'Served Banner Models' (39) Currently Viewing: 11 - 20 of 39

December 9, 2014 at 10:21am

Served Blog Banner Girl: Q&A with Kristina Vanous of Odd Otter Brewing Company

Standing in front of the shirts she designed, Kristina Vanous is ready to pour you an Odd Otter beer. Photo credit: Pappi Swarner

Every week we swap out the Served banner art above, introducing you to the people who serve food and drinks in the South Sound. This week, meet Kristina Vanous.

Server Banner Girl, Dec. 8-14, 2014

Kristina Vanous

Long long ago, Kristina Vanous was a Starbucks barista in high school, and then a server for a dinky restaurant out in Enumclaw called CJ Coasters. In college, she worked at a Seattle-based computer firm. She joined Odd Otter Brewing Company as a graphic designer to help them with a redesign of the logo. The scope of the project turned into so much more - a complete rebranding and, eventually, an investor in Odd Otter. Following her return from overseas travels to the lands of Hobbits and Aussies in March, she began working on the actual space. Many of the interior elements were designed and handmade by Vanous. Next on her to-do list is the much-requested flight trays. Yes, she hears you Tacoma. When she's not designing, she's pouring beers.

Why do you serve?
"Odd Otter Brewing Company was founded out of a desire to provide the community with a cozy place that is both inviting and fun. Additionally, the founders have a desire to give back to the community in other, non-alcohol based ways. I serve in large part because the spirit and purpose of the company resonates with my own life philosophy. Also, it's a great opportunity to break away from the week's work to socialize. I really enjoy being able to interact with the folks who have been watching and supporting our progress over the past year. A LOT of heart and soul have gone into this place, and it warms my heart to see people finally enjoying it. I serve because I care about Tacoma. This city has been my home for over a decade, and I love the people in it!"

Who is your favorite server in the South Sound?
"How on earth could I ever choose? Can I list crews? The teams at Hilltop Kitchen and The Forum are always on top of their game whenever any of us Otters visit them. They are approachable, helpful and they tailor their communication styles to their clientele's preferences. I love how attentive they are."

What are you most proud to serve?
"I am proud to serve ALL of our brewer's well-crafted creations, Owen McGrane, Odd Otter's head brewer, is an absolute genius. He has a knack for creating "otterly" unique experiences for your mouth. We don't expect everyone to like everything that we serve: some people like their beer sweet; others like it subtle; some like it hoppy; others like it malty. I could go on with juxtapositions, but my point is that, we've something to delight almost any palate. We think that that's definitely something to be proud of.

As much as I love serving our beer, I am MOST PROUD to serve by utilizing my skills in design and art here at Odd Otter for the community to enjoy. I am proud and honored that the otter graphics on our merchandise; the bar face at which our customers sit; and the tables that I lovingly varnished, carved with otters and checkerboards, and stained reflect my hand and my mind in the brewery. I even made sure that under table and under bar coat and purse hooks were installed for our ladies and gents. The other curiosities I have created, such as the bathroom mural and rock wall, were my way of turning a predictable experience turn into something unique and enjoyable. Witnessing the smiles and laughter over the things I've created in service to our customers are what makes me the most proud. It means I did my job right!

Oh, and my favorite beer to serve is the Ottermelon Hefeweizen. It is soft, subtle and it's delightfully summer-y. Particularly here in Washington where three of our seasons are rain - a little summer sprinkled here and there can brighten up anyone's day."

What's your current drink of choice?
"Although I have tended toward water drinking historically, my current - it's always changing - most fancied beer is Momma Otter's Pancake Porter. "The Pancake" as we call it is a real treat, especially when it comes with a scoop of vanilla ice cream brought in from Ice Cream Social. It's better than a root beer float."

Favorite movie?
"Oh boy, I'm a huge comedy buff. Some favorites include Anchorman, Grandma's Boy, Monty Python and Zoolander."

What don't you serve?
"As a local brewery and tasting room, we are presently licensed to serve only beer. We don't have wine or hard alcohol, but we have beers that wine drinkers and spirits sippers will love. We keep things simple on the food side too: anyone can bring in any food from anywhere and eat it here. Everyone who will deliver food is welcome to deliver it here as well, so even though we won't serve you food, you can eat anything you like. We do have some bags of odd chips for sale, and we'll have bar snacks coming soon."

What's on your radar at Odd Otter Brewing?
"We have some amazing new beers coming up in rotation soon. Two new beers currently fermenting are The Son of Otter, which is a Belgian with hints of spices, apple and pear. It's a nod to Rene Magritte's famed painting "The Son of Man," which depicts a bowler-hatted man whose face is obscured by a green apple. We will also have delightful holiday ale called WinterFace with unique herbal flavors of lavender, orange peel and juniper. I can't wait.

Once our larger seven barrel brewing system is up and running (soon!), we will expand our opening days from Fridays and Saturdays. We also anticipate bringing Tacoma a delightful handcrafted root beer in the next year as well.

And don't forget the gift cards we just received in the mail - hot off the presses and ready to stuff the stockings of Otter fans everywhere. If you pay attention, you also might read about our New Year's Eve party that we're planning, too."


New Brew Space Oddity

LINK: Meet other South Sound servers

LINK: South Sound Happy Hour App

December 4, 2014 at 3:06pm

Served Blog Banner Boy: Q&A with bartender Josh Hill of The Swiss and Eleven Eleven

Josh Hill behind the bar at Peterson Bros. 11i1 on Hilltop Tacoma. Photo credit: Pappi Swarner

Every week we swap out the Served banner art above, introducing you to the people who serve food and drinks in the South Sound. This week, meet Josh Hill.

Server Banner Boy, Dec. 1-7, 2014

Josh Hill

Josh Hill began bartending at The Swiss Restaurant & Pub shortly after his father, Bob, Jack McQuade and Gayl Bertagni opened the joint in a then sketchy part of downtown Tacoma in 1993. The Swiss was one of the main reasons the neighborhood turned around. Basically, Josh turned 21 and stepped behind the bar. Not only did Josh have a front row seat to the revitalization of downtown Tacoma, he watched the downtown YMCA grow too. Josh was one of the founders of the Y's popular Noon Hoops program. For years he battled many a player underneath the hoop. Today, Josh is still at The Swiss, as well as behind the bar at Peterson Bros. 1111, the Hilltop Tacoma bar and sandwich joint run by Bob Hill's other boys, twins Robbie and Justin Peterson.

Why do you serve?

I serve because following in your father's footsteps is a good thing.

Who is your favorite server in the South Sound?

My favorite server is the whole crew at The Copper Door. I like to go for a run, and then stop there for beers. It's fun, local, good brew and good company.

What are you most proud to serve?

I like to think I can find the right drink for each person. A couple questions and instinct is all it takes.

What's your current drink of choice?

My drink lately has been a Moscow Mule. Greg at The Top makes the best.

Favorite movie?

Favorite movie is Hoosiers, of course.

What don't you serve?

No drinks with more than two shots. Responsibility is important too, even if the customer doesn't agree.

What's on your radar at 1111 and The Swiss?

At 1111 and the Swiss it's always new. You never know whom you'll meet. That always makes it fun.

LINK: Meet other South Sound servers

Filed under: Served Banner Models, Tacoma,

November 24, 2014 at 8:30am

Served Blog Banner Girl: Q&A with bartender Teresa Fisher of Maxwell's Restaurant + Lounge

Maxwell's bartender Teresa Fisher knows how to make a delicious martini. Photo credit: Pappi Swarner

Every week we swap out the Served banner art above, introducing you to the people who serve food and drinks in the South Sound. This week, meet Teresa Fisher.

Server Banner Girl, Nov. 24-Nov. 30, 2014

Teresa Fisher

Teresa Fisher is a very good reason to visit Maxwell's Restaurant + Lounge, nestled between downtown Tacoma and the Stadium District. This experienced mixologist is a fireball of energy. She's known for being outgoing, her beautiful smile and kick-ass drinks, of course. You might have known her at the Outback Steakhouse. You might have known her at the former Sea Grill. She has found a home at Maxwell's, matching drinks with the talent in Maxwell's kitchen.

Why do you serve?

"I serve because it allows me to have a flexible schedule giving me the opportunity to spend precious time with my children. I also like the fast paced, think on your feet, multitasking atmosphere. I love to make people happy."

Who is your favorite server in the South Sound?

"My favorite servers would have to be Jacey Weston and Ryan O'Donnell at the Matador."

What's your current drink of choice?

"My current drink of choice is a glass of Prosecco or a simple Chopin martini with a twist and an olive."

Favorite movie?


What don't you serve?

"We don't serve ranch or breakfast."

What's on your radar at Maxwell's?

A few things are on my radar. First, of all the dishes on Chef Hudson Slater's awesome menu, you must try the lamb shank. Our Wine Wednesdays offer half off any bottle $75 or less. It's a great night to come in and try our fabulous wine list. Also, we have live music every Friday and Saturday featuring Kim Archer, Kareem Kandi and Nyoka. They rock it!

LINK: Meet other South Sound servers

LINK: South Sound Happy Hour App

Filed under: Served Banner Models, Tacoma,

November 17, 2014 at 12:41pm

Served Blog Banner Girl: Q&A with Jessica Nicoletti of King Solomon's Reef

Jessica Nicoletti serves delicious milkshakes at King Solomon's Reef in downtown Olympia. Photo credit: Nikki McCoy

Every week we swap out the Served banner art above, introducing you to the people who serve food and drinks in the South Sound. This week, meet Jessica Nicoletti.

Server Banner Girl, Nov. 17-23, 2014

Jessica Nicoletti

King Solomon's Reef in downtown Olympia re-opened in May 2012. After two fires and 15 months of restoration, the Reef's curse has turned into a blessing. The inside is immaculate. In the restaurant, the original booths are refinished to a smooth charcoal vinyl. The ceiling is pressed tin for a fascinating pattern. The wood paneling has been recreated. Everything is ship-shape, yet you can feel the nostalgia the building holds. The bar is still swanky, too. On the food side, the self-proclaimed "Best Diner in the Galaxy" serves favorites such as a delicious Monte Carlo, the Pac Man breakfast sandwich, fried chicken and waffles, homemade sausage and amazing housemade pies. Leading the charge are the coolest kids in town, including server Jessica Nicoletti.

Why do you serve?
"I have been in the service industry since I was about 13 years old - making milkshakes and sundaes in a tiny, stand-alone hamburger joint in a very small town in Wisconsin. It has always been a part of my life and I can honestly say I genuinely enjoy what I do. It is very rewarding to serve in such a centrally located spot in our quirky and lovable community."

Who is your favorite server in the South Sound?
"I have some really amazing friends working downtown and picking just one is difficult! I really love Danielle Ruse at The Brotherhood and her drink knowledge blows my mind. Watching her bartend on a busy and packed Saturday night is amazing. She moves so quickly and fluidly, her drinks are always on point and she does all of this with a smile across her face. She is definitely a person that I look up to in live and in the serving world."

What are you most proud to serve?
"I am mostly proud of my milkshakes. Ironically, I have a dairy allergy, but I do put a lot of love into them. On a larger scale, I am proud to serve anything and everything at The Reef. Our staff works so hard."

What's your current drink of choice?
"I like to indulge in a soy chai tea latte at Cafe Vita or OCR made by some of the best baristas in town. Both have a perfect blend of sweet and spicy. In the spirits world, I really love a Moscow Mule. But I really love all of the cocktails on our drink menu at Obsidian. That's right, I'm going to be bartending at the new café and music venue down the street from The Reef. Our soft opening is this Thursday - with a partial menu for two weeks. Our grand opening will be in the beginning of December."

Favorite movie?
"Why is this always the toughest question? I'm not sure I can break this tie but I am somewhere in between The Little Mermaid and The Holy Mountain."

What don't you serve?

What's on your radar at the Reef?
"We have recently added some delicious blended cocktails - some with more standout names such as the Astroglide. Yes, you may ask us what is in it ... but you should definitely try it first."

LINK: Meet other South Sound servers

LINK: South Sound Happy Hour App

November 10, 2014 at 7:19am

Served Blog Banner Boy: Q&A with bartender Nic Chmiel of Wingman Brewers

Nic Chmiel of Wingman Brewers knows the mechanics behind a good beer. Photo credit: Pappi Swarner

Every week we swap out the Served banner art above, introducing you to the people who serve food and drinks in the South Sound. This week, meet Nic Chmiel.

Server Banner Boy, Nov. 10-16, 2014

Nic Chmiel

Wingman Brewers in the Tacoma Dome District was all hustle and bustle last week with a bottling session in the back, including capping their Miss B-Haven Belgian-style Tripel. During the hubbub, the brewery left a mechanical engineer in charge. Nic Chmiel, who will soon head to Washington State University to finish his engineering degree, was pouring beers and holding court in the Wingman taproom. Chmiel grew up in BJ's Restaurant and Brewhouses, including California, Southcenter and South Hill. He's been surrounded by beers his entire service stint.

Why do you serve?

"Ha ha why not? I get to work hours that match my lifestyle. I get to meet some really cool people and just bullshit with them all night. The camaraderie between other service workers is out of this world. The pay is good enough to get me through school and pay my rent. And, at the end of it all, I get to serve people something that I am passionate about and enjoy being around for 10 hours a day. What more could you possibly ask for?"

Who is your favorite server in the South Sound?

"See ... now this is tough. There are a lot of nameless faces at that one place I went to that one time or other that are awesome. There are some out-of-this-world servers in the South Sound - it's impossible to pin it down. I would have to answer with: ‘anyone that is seriously passionate about what they do.' It shows, and it can make or break your dining-drinking experience. Nobody wants to saddle up to a bar and the bartender clearly just does not want to be there.??"

What are you most proud to serve?

"Authentic, well-crafted Tacoma ales."

What's your current drink of choice?

"OOOOOH ... This summer I have really been turned on to sours. It's a tough thing to find, but if I can get into a bar that has a sour beer, that's my go to. If not, next step is to look for a craft porter. Cannot go wrong there. If that fails, any craft beer on draft. And, if by chance, I stumble into a place that does not have craft beer at all, then probably a whiskey sour. Ha ha or I leave. ..."

Favorite movie?

"Easy - Pulp Fiction. I am a huge Tarantino fan. I don't have a TV, but I have probably seen Django like ten times too."

What don't you serve?

"Minors and drunks. Besides that, I have probably just about seen it all."

What's on your radar at Wingman Brewers?

"Definitely our upcoming 'Denizens of the Dark' event on November 22. I love me a big, heavy beer and this event is nothing but that. Just HUGE winter beers. And a lot of them. We will also be releasing bottles of our Stratofortress and Bourbon Barrel Aged Stratofortress, and you can bet a handful of those bad boys are headed home with me."

LINK: Meet other South Sound servers

November 3, 2014 at 9:29am

Served Blog Banner Girl: Q&A with Cathy Marcotte of Happy Belly in Tacoma

Cathy Marcotte has taken her passion for fresh produce and whole food and let it flourish at Happy Belly at 1122 Market St. in downtown Tacoma. Photo credit: Happy Belly

Every week we swap out the Served banner art above, introducing you to the people who serve food and drinks in the South Sound. This week, meet Cathy Marcotte.

Server Banner Girl, Nov. 3-9, 2014

Cathy Marcotte

Cathy Marcotte has been serving at Happy Belly since its opening in downtown Tacoma a month ago. She is a real geek for fresh produce and whole food, which means she has quickly found herself at home in her new position. Before creating and serving vegetarian meals, juices and smoothies at Happy Belly, Marcotte served local, organic fruit and vegetables at Terry's Berries Farm Store in the Puyallup Valley as well as at the farm's market booth at the Thursday Broadway Farmers Market.

Why do you serve?

"Introducing people to healthy food options that are unique and delicious is a passion of mine. ‘Eating your veggies' can be incredibly exciting and much more fulfilling than your typical burger and fries. It does take a change of mindset and a few ideas to start with, but I love providing people with the inspiration to make those food choices."

Who is your favorite server in the South Sound?

"It's a tie between the vendors you find at farmers markets around here. They have such an intimate knowledge of the products they sell and it's amazing how much you can learn about where your food comes from just by asking a few questions. Great recipe ideas have come from my farmers market times as well."

What are you most proud to serve?

"Anything with greens, and lots of them, so good thing we have plenty of options at Happy Belly. Greens are versatile, nutritious and grow like weeds - which can be tasty too - around here in most seasons. We should always eat more."

What is your current drink of choice?

"Our Green Sunrise Smoothie. Kale blended with bright orange and ginger for a zing, I could have one everyday."

Favorite movie?

"I don't watch a lot of movies, but if I'm going to it better be about the end of the world. Or, when I'm feeling less apocalyptic, I like to revisit movies for nostalgia's sake. The Never Ending Story and The Last Unicorn are recent views."

What don't you serve?

"Food that isn't really food. Energy drinks. Anything super processed or that makes you crash or feel lousy shortly after. I serve food that compliments an active lifestyle where there just isn't room for that."

What's on your radar at Happy Belly?

"New seasonal items. My own personal diet and cravings really depend upon the time of year so I'm excited to see what the brilliant minds behind Happy Belly will come up with."

LINK: Meet other South Sound servers

October 27, 2014 at 9:47am

Served Blog Banner Boy: Q&A with bartender Taylor Volz of Narrows Brewing Co.

Taylor Volz has been serving at Narrows Brewing Co. since the day it opened in Tacoma. Photo credit: Pappi Swarner

Every week we swap out the Served banner art above, introducing you to the people who serve food and drinks in the South Sound. This week, meet Taylor Volz.

Server Banner Boy, Oct. 27-Nov. 2, 2014

Taylor Volz

Taylor Volz has been behind the bar at Narrows Brewing Co. since May 2013, about a month before it opened next to the Narrows Marina in Tacoma. Volz began his serving career at Laurelwood Public House and Brewery in Portland, Oregon, where he grew up. He worked there during high school and in summers in between school before moving to Tacoma to attend the University of Puget Sound. The summer before his senior year, he worked at the former Jake's Bar and Bistro in Steilacoom, where he learned to bartend.

Why do you serve?

"I serve because I have yet to find another job that can keep me on my feet and entertained as much as serving. I love the constant movement of the industry and that no two days are the same. I get the opportunity to meet people from all over the area and learn why they love craft beer, as well as receive a wealth of knowledge about what is going on within the craft beer community."

Who is your favorite server in the South Sound?

"I enjoy many servers in the South Sound area but right now I'd have to go with Craig over at The Copper Door. He's always great to talk to about beer or sports or whatever. It's also a great setting for enjoying a beer. The Copper Door's selection is top notch, too."

What are you most proud to serve?

"I'm most proud to serve beer that is Tacoma made. Every beer we have in the brewery is crafted by our brewmaster Joe Walts. Customers that come in often are enjoying a beer with Joe or one of our assistant brewers - sometimes without even knowing so. I love the sense of community that it creates and how refreshing it is to be able to say that you are serving great local beer."

What's you current drink of choice?

"My current drink within the brewery is our Imperial Red Ale. If you haven't sipped it at our brewery or picked up a 22 in the stores, you need to immediately. Since it's fresh hop season I have been exploring all the great hoppy seasonals that us beer lovers get to enjoy this time of year."

What's your favorite movie?

"I'm the type of person that's gonna have a different answer for this question almost every time you ask me. If you're twisting my arm I'd have to say Caddyshack."

What don't you serve?

"I'd say the one thing that I don't serve is close-minded jerks. In my opinion, the craft beer community is about learning new types of beer and figuring out what you like and don't like. I can tell you no two people have the same to tastes. Everyone's different, so don't be a jerk and respect that and we'll get along just fine."

What's on your radar at Narrows Brewing Co.?

"Right now, I'm excited for our Halloween party that we'll host Oct. 31. Not only will we will be releasing our Cardamom Coffee Stout, which was brewed with coffee from Northern Pacific Coffee Co. and spices from Mad Hat Tea Company. Everyone is encouraged to where a costume. The best costume will receive a $100 gift card to the taproom. I can't wait to see what type of shenanigans ensue."

LINK: Meet other South Sound servers

October 20, 2014 at 9:47am

Served Blog Banner Girl: Q&A with Rachele Piety of Valhalla Coffee Co.

Rachele Piety has a mocha with your name on it at Valhalla Coffee Co. at 3918 Sixth Ave. in Tacoma. Photo credit: Pappi Swarner

Every week we swap out the Served banner art above, introducing you to the people who serve food and drinks in the South Sound. This week, meet Rachele Piety.

Server Banner Girl, Oct. 20-26, 2014

Rachele Piety

The South Sound is teeming with baristas: tattooed, spike-haired baristas; convenience-store baristas; baristas entombed in drive-up booths; barely breathing baristas. But once in a while you come across someone who just understands the art of making espresso, and Rachele Piety has clearly bean there and done that. She patiently extracts her wicked brew from Valhalla Coffee Company's espresso machine, but that's after giving you a shout out as you walk in the door. Piety has had a handful of jobs the last 10 years - including Big Foot Java where she worked evenings for about 5 years. "I was well known by my regulars as 'the chick with dreads'," she says. Piety has been a "barista" for eight years, but she became a "real" barista two years ago when she met A.J. Anderson, owner of Valhalla in Tacoma. "A.J. taught me everything I know. I learned quickly to dispose of my old fast-paced, drive-through barista habits and replace them with knowledge of craft coffee." When she's not pulling shots or managing Valhalla's retail side, she's crafting, baking, gardening, living green and playing with her almost 4-year-old daughter, Ivie.

Why do you serve?

"I serve for the smiles. I have always been a people person, and love that I can be myself at Valhalla. I am here to caffeinate the community!" 

Who is your favorite server in the South Sound?

"There are a lot of great servers in the South Sound. Definitely my mom, Robbin Piety, she is an excellent server and one of the hardest workers I know. Being raised by a waitress, I was taught at an early age what a server should and shouldn't do. Jil at Marlene's Market and Deli is such a crowd pleaser. Her witty humor, excessive tie-dyed shirts, and knowledge of health food are astonishing. That woman is contagious and has the biggest heart.  Anyone who can handle a crowd with a smile, and show they are working to better the customer's experience through their product is a good server in my eyes."

What are you most proud to serve?

"I am proud of everything we put out at Valhalla. Our staff goes above and beyond to produce quality, and nothing but that. A.J. runs a tight ship, and that shows through our product and consistency. Seeing a customer light up over the latte art in their cup is absolutely gratifying. I'm also proud of our mochas. We use a semi-sweet chocolate made by Trop's Chocolates in Gig Harbor, and it pairs so well with our Espresso Blend. When someone comes in baffled by the simplicity of our menu: I always recommend the mocha."

What's your current drink of choice?

"My drink is dependent on my mood and the weather. I could drink pour overs of the Ethiopian Harrar all day long at work. Sometimes, I drink a quad shot vanilla Americano, but sometimes I just want a honey latte. At home it's mostly Rainier beer. I have been on a green smoothie kick, though."

Favorite movie?

"My favorite movie is Almost Famous. Everything seventies, all the time!"

What don't you serve?

"We do not serve anything ‘trendy, or fluffy.'  We serve traditional Northwest style drinks. Everything is done by the cup, and is handcrafted.  If you're looking for that blended fluff - you're gonna have to travel elsewhere."

What's on your radar at Valhalla Coffee Co.?

"Since I started with Valhalla we have only progressed. We are gaining new customers daily, and even shipping pounds across the country weekly. Winning ("Best Coffee" in the Weekly Volcano's 2014) Best of Tacoma was a great mark for us and we plan to hold the crown for the years to follow. As a company, and for myself, the answer is growth. We will continue to climb uphill and are ready for a busy holiday season. Save Tacoma, drink Valhalla Coffee."

LINK: Meet other South Sound servers

October 13, 2014 at 11:17am

Served Blog Banner Girl: Q&A with bartender Shasta Derbyshire at the Harmon Tap Room

Harmon Tap Room bartender Shasta Derbyshire loves her job. Photo credit: Pappi Swarner

Every week we swap out the Served banner art above, introducing you to the people who serve food and drinks in the South Sound. This week, meet Shasta Derbyshire.

Server Banner Girl, Oct. 13-19, 2014

Shasta Derbyshire

Shasta Derbyshire has been pouring beer and tasty cocktails at the Harmon Tap Room for the last four years. She's lightning quick - running back and forth behind the bar, darting out to the beer garden and rolling out kegs from the brewery room. Maybe her quickness was one of the factors that attracted her husband, who she met at the Tap Room and recently married. Her first bartending job was at the Red Lobster the week she turned 21. Shasta met Harmon Brewing Co. head brewer Jeff Carlson while serving drinks at the former Speedway BBQ & Ale House in Lacey. Carlson introduced her to the art of craft beers. She was hooked. Before she knew it, she was serving Harmon beers at the Harmon Brewery & Eatery in downtown Tacoma before moving on to her current gig and "family" as she calls her fellow Tap Roomans.

Why do you serve?

"I serve because I literally get paid to play with beer and people. It's pretty rad. I would NEVER get to meet so many different kinds of people and personalities sitting behind a desk in some corporate box. Not to mention the never-ending supply of beer at my fingertips. ..."


October 6, 2014 at 10:37am

Served Blog Banner Girl: Q&A with Sherilyn Lightner of Dillingers Cocktails and Kitchen

Dillingers Cocktails and Kitchen Bar Manager Sherilyn Lightner is ready to serve you in downtown Olympia. Photo credit: Pappi Swarner

Every week we swap out the Served banner art above, introducing you to the people who serve food and drinks in the South Sound. This week, meet Sherilyn Lightner.

Server Banner Girl, Oct. 6-12, 2014

Sherilyn Lightner

Sherilyn Lightner runs the bar at Dillingers Cocktails and Kitchen, the Prohibition-era speakeasy in downtown Olympia. She has been bar mistress at Dillingers since it opened Jan. 28 of this year. She was a month away from moving to Portland, Oregon, in search of her next bartending challenge when she was asked to be part of the Dillingers team. It was her first opportunity to open a bar from the ground up, thoughtfully choosing all of the products and compiling the cocktail menu to suit the tone and theme of Dillingers, while offering something different for Olympia.

She began bartending nearly 11 years ago at Mercato Ristorante next to the Olympia Farmers Market. Since then, she has bartended at Waterstreet Café and Acqua Via, both in Olympia, and Juno in Seattle. What began as a job during college has turned into her passion.

Bartending can mean different things to different people. For Lightner, it is an art form, a craft, to be honed and perfected. Part of her journey has included entering competitions. Next year will be her third year competing in Speed Rack, an all-female, nationwide bartending competition that raises money for breast cancer research. The competition is held in eight major cities, including Seattle where Lightner will be competing. Participants go head to head, and are judged on speed and accuracy of four classic cocktails, picked at random, by four judges. According to Lightner, it's humbling, exhilarating and nerve racking.

Why do you serve?

"I love hospitality. If I had the time and the means, I would host intimate dinner parties every night. Serving is my way of doing just that. For a few hours, you are given the opportunity to create an experience for people, and it's a fun challenge to figure out what kind of experience they are looking for. It's an extreme honor to serve others, and be invited into their lives for a moment." 

Who is your favorite server in the South Sound?

"My favorite server in the South Sound is Andrew Buechel at Mercato Ristorante. He is the utmost professional, extremely attentive without being intrusive and he genuinely cares about hospitality. I call him ‘Champion', a nickname that he most definitely earned and deserves." 

What are you most proud to serve?

"I am most proud to serve any drink that a guest truly enjoys. I love broadening horizons, educating people about spirits and cocktails and turning people on to new things, but, ultimately, my job is to craft a drink that suits my guest. Whether that is a vodka and soda, or a Champs-Élysées, if you love it, I'm proud of it." 

What is your current drink of choice?

"I always love whiskey or cognac based cocktails. My ultimate go-to is the Vieux Carre, a blend of Cognac, Rye, Sweet Vermouth, Benedictine, and Peychauds and Angostura Bitters. It's like a Manhattan's richer, more sophisticated uncle. Or, a lovely glass of green Chartreuse with just a few ice cubes. You can never go wrong with Chartreuse." 

What is your favorite movie?

"Oy. That's a stressful question. I have different favorites based on different genres, or moods. However, if I had to pick ONE favorite, I would have to say Blade Runner. I could watch that film over and over, and never tire of it. SO good."

What don't you serve?

"I won't serve a drink that I can't stand behind. I taste nearly every cocktail I send out, because my name is attached to it. If it's not right, I won't serve it, and I'll keep working on it until it is right." 

What's on your radar at Dillingers?

"I want Dilllingers to continue to offer something different for Olympia. Now that we are established, I want to get into housemade infusions, barrel-aged cocktails, and more Dillingers originals. We will continue with pre-Prohibition and Prohibition-era cocktails as our main focus, but its a lot of fun to experiment, try new things and continue to challenge yourself. 

Meet Sherilyn Lightner: Dillingers Cocktails and Kitchen Chef Denise Alsonso will cook and Bar Mistress Sherilyn Lightner will pour champagne cocktails at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 7 at the Bayview School of Cooking. The cost is $55. Reserve your space at 360.754.1448.

LINK: Meet other South Sound servers

About this blog

Served, a blog by the Weekly Volcano, is the region’s feedbag of fresh chow daily, local restaurant news, New Beer Column, bar and restaurant openings and closings, breaking culinary news and breaking culinary ground - all brought to the table with a dollop of Internet frivolity on top.

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