The Mandarin Hide
Individual Excellence in Customer Service
“I love to serve people. I live to serve people. Whether it is seeing the smile on their face after serving them one of their favorite and familiar classics or watching them ponder the creation that has worked its way from my imagination into their glass.”
First and foremost, to the team at Squaremouth: Thank you so much for selecting me to be a part of this amazing campaign. You all are really touching the lives of people all over downtown and to the countless others who have heard the story of your generosity. It is a true honor to be recognized amidst 19 other people who are trailblazing the way for Hospitality in Downtown St. Petersburg. I have never felt more appreciated than I did when I was surprised with a $1,000 tip, standing behind the same bar that I have worked behind for over three years, The Mandarin Hide, in front of friends that I call family. It is truly a feeling that I will never forget.
I believe that being from St Petersburg has had a profound impact on how I deal with customers in my establishment. I see every person that walks through my doors as a neighbor and potential friend. I believe that people from our hometown have a huge sense of pride in where our town has been and what it is becoming; as a local I have been able to watch my city grow and become established, just as I have done, and I try to portray that as often as I can.
Since I began my career in hospitality as a high-schooler, I have always prided myself in my motivation to give exceptional customer service. I love to serve people. I live to serve people. Whether it is seeing the smile on their face after serving them one of their favorite and familiar classics or watching them ponder the creation that has worked its way from my imagination into their glass. This feeling is something that I live for. I count myself as one of those lucky people that found a way to make a career out of their passion.
I have been lucky enough to work with, in my opinion, the best staff in the Bay Area for the past three years. By their examples, they have pushed me to not only create better drinks, but to deliver an overall better customer experience. I’ve been coached by many people in many ways along my journey, from learning that “Chocolates on the pillow aren’t enough” from the wonderful staff at The Don CeSar to how to turn customers into friends from one of my mentors and close friends Bill Bertoncin of A La Provence in Tallahassee. I served my fair share of cocktails before my time at Mise en Place, in Tampa, with Dave Madera and Nate DeWitt, but they showed me the true meaning of having a passion for drinks and how to learn about wine and spirits. For that, I cannot thank them enough.
That brings me to where I am now and thanking my current owners and mentors Ryan Griffin, Bill Griffin, Tony Casoria, and Blake Thompson. The freedom for creativity and self-expression is an intangible thing that most people can only dream of having with their job, by allowing me this, you four have gifted me with being able to spread my passion within our community.
With this tip, I am one step closer to fulfilling my life’s dream of becoming an established part of St. Petersburg’s hospitality industry, through continued cocktail education, time for research and brainstorming and always remembering the importance of customer service, an ideal that Squaremouth has demonstrated through the Thank You Campaign, that will continue to motivate me every day.