Tell us about yourself…
I’ve been bartending for about seven years but have been in the restaurant industry since I was 14. I guess you could say I got my start by making jungle juice at the Kappa Sig Fraternity house while at VCU. Seriously though, I waited tables all through college and always had a strong interest in cocktails. After finishing school and working an office job for a few years, I started working at Can Can Brasserie as a waiter. After being at Can Can a few months they offered me the bartending gig, and the rest is history.
What do you do when you’re not bartending? Any hobbies/side jobs/secret identities?
I'm a big music nerd, so I'm always listening to and collecting tunes. I try to see as much live music as possible. I enjoy going to the gym and lifting heavy things. Cycling is a lot of fun. I spend a lot of my time with my two cats. I'm constantly watching sports. As a part-time job I help produce a very delicious spirit, you may actually know a little bit about it. As far as any secret identities go, I can't really tell you, that would strongly jeopardize my other hobby, crime fighting.
What’s something people would be surprised to know about you?
I have a degree in Economics, I was a Financial Advisor for 3 years, I think Beyonce is overrated, I laugh way too hard at the television show Frasier, I prefer winter to summer, I didn't know I could grow a beard until a few years ago, I like Coldplay.
What’s your favorite thing to drink? Favorite classic cocktail? Favorite thing to drink when no one’s looking?
My favorite thing to drink depends on my mood. I'm a big craft beer and whiskey fan, Saisons and Islay Scotches are my favorite styles of both. My favorite cocktails are the Manhattan, Old Fashioned and the Sazerac. I've been known to drink Gin Martinis and Vespers as well. My favorite forgotten classic cocktail is The Blinker, which is Rye, fresh grapefruit and house-made grenadine, trust me!
What do I drink when no one is looking?
Cosmos and Mojitos, there, I said it.
Tell us about your bar…
East Coast Provisions keeps a very laid back vibe. People can come in as they are, feel comfortable and enjoy a delicious cocktail, we literally have something for everyone. All of our patrons feel very relaxed when they visit us, and they always leave happy.
What’s the neighborhood like?
Carytown is very diverse. We have people of all ages living and visiting the area. During the nicer months it is definitely a tourist destination. It contains young hipsters, middle-aged business types, and old hippies. Literally anything and everything.
What makes your bar unique?
The visible raw bar you see right when you walk in is gorgeous. Also, the food here at East Coast is really what separates our bar. While all of us bartenders take pride in our drinks and service, the food that the chef puts together on a nightly basis for our guests is phenomenal. We are one of the few places where you can have a great drink with an incredible meal.
What’s your favorite part about working there?
All of the staff here at Coast is outstanding. It's also nice working for a place where the owners/management care about the staff, I've worked at other places where this wasn't the case, I won't mention any names.
What’s a good night look like for you? What are people ordering?
A good night for me is when people are ordering classic cocktails. I really enjoy giving people a small history on certain drinks. I also love being very busy. Busy equals higher sales and higher sales equal more tips.
What’s your favorite menu item / cocktail pairing?
Well, the Bell-a-Colada I whipped up goes great with our crunch eel rolls. The spiciness of the roll is a great counter to the sweetness of the cocktail.
Can you share a Belle Isle creation with us? What inspired it?
My cocktail is the Belle-a Colada. The tiki-takeover, as I like to call it, is what inspired it.
- 1 oz. Belle Isle 100 Proof Moonshine
- 1 oz. Orgeat
- 2 oz. Pineapple Juice
- 1 oz. Coconut Milk
- 1/4 oz. Myer's Dark Rum
- 2 hefty dashes of Peychaud's bitters
Combine the first five ingredients into a shaker, add ice, and shake vigorously for about 10 seconds. Strain into a tall collins glass filled with crushed ice. Float the rum on top, garnish with a maraschino cherry (optional).
Recipe by Jon Wasilewski of East Coast Provisions
Photos by Alex Kreher