Tuesday, July 26

nick r.

Nick R. | Bartender/Bar Manger
Years of Industry Service: 38
Nick moved to Kansas City from Cincinnati, Ohio in 1972 when his dad taught at Johnson County Community College. One year later, he started his first job at Andre's on Main doing dishes, cleaning the chocolate table and raiding the broken candy bucket. Since then, he's worked just about every job in the service industry, including being a general manager at The Granfalloon. Now he works Monday through Friday lunches at Tower, and he has evenings and weekends free to take care of his 10-year-old daughter. He says, "She kind of grew up in this industry." She has already tried her hand at making (non-alcoholic) drinks, everything from grenadine and tabasco gets mixed in together, and her dad is the lucky guy who gets to try them.

Nick goes to a lot of Royals games and sporting events in general, but his favorite sport is baseball and his favorite team is the Cincinnati Reds. He coaches his daughter's soccer and baseball teams. "It's fun to watch your daughter play the same sports as you did," Nick says. He has also has passed on his love for baseball to his offspring. When she was eight years old, his daughter had a broken arm and a blue cast. Together, they would go to Royals games, each game is a 10-hour event which includes waiting for autographs. That year, they went to 35 games and now, she has 54 baseballs, all signed. She's even precocious enough to know that when the team is having a bad season and a bad game, that it might not be worthwhile to wait for autographs, saying to him once, "Dad, they're not going to be in a very good mood....we can go."

Working lunches and being in the industry for so long, Nick has learned to anticipate what his regulars want. "Usually when a guest comes in, I know what they're going to drink and have it on the table before they even sit down." He says of his regulars, one who was sitting at the bar giving him a hard time during our chat, "I have a lot of guests like this, smart asses, but I give it right back." You can become one of Nick's regulars too; he started a punch card program for lunch at Tower...get nine lunches and get a $10 gift card.
Side story: when we stopped in, Nick said his friend had just sent him a link to our Supper Club post the day before. Although they haven't gotten together in a quite a while, Nick says he also was part of a supper club. His friends? Steven Malloy of the Classic Cup and Ray Comiskey of The Capital Grille. I asked if there was a lot of drinking involved, like at ours. Dumb question maybe, but he said, "Oh, yeah." If you guys do get together again, ahem, we'd like to be invited.

  Make KC Better » Since I have a daughter, I really wish she could run around the neighborhood and not to have worry about her