It's time, Boston. Our third annual 30 Under 30 list is here, honoring Boston's creative and accomplished young dining-scene stars. Here, we’re highlighting the hot-shot chefs and innovative cocktail gurus who have lured us to this year's biggest openings, plus the front-of-house honchos that keep the city’s busiest restaurants running smoothly. Read on to meet the next generation behind Boston's food-world revolution.
Bios by Scott Kearnan, Portraits by Michael Diskin
Lauren Abda, 27Managing Director at The Food Loft
Boston's food scene is exploding, and so is our innovation culture. Lauren Abda helps those worlds to collide. Her Food Loft is a coworking space uniquely dedicated to food-tech startups, uniting entrepreneurs to cook up brilliant ideas, like On the Bar, a mobile app for tracking favorite bartenders. She's also a natural matchmaker, hosting hacks and salons through Branchfood, her networking business. Armed with lofty goals, Abda is a key driver in the city’s innovation infrastructure, and she brings the same excitement to every project, whether she’s tackling sustainable ethics or helping you find your next cocktail.
Side Dishes: Abda has political pedigree. She earned her master’s in food policy from Tufts and previously worked for the World Trade Organization in Geneva, Switzerland.
She spent four years as a vegan and 10 as a vegetarian, but credits three meals for turning her on to meat: pho at Pho Pasteur, fried quail from Puritan & Co. and beef tenderloin from Barbara Lynch’s The Butcher Shop.
Deirdre Auld , 27Director of Operations at The Coda Group
Deirdre Auld earned a degree in architecture, but a post-college restaurant job convinced her that she was more interested in building relationships than structures. Smitten with hospitality, she cut her teeth at The Butcher Shop and No. 9 Park. This year the Coda team tapped her to serve as its first director of operations, overseeing all aspects of The Salty Pig, Canary Square and Coda Bar & Kitchen. What most excites Auld, though, is fostering talent: grooming future managers and working with LEAD (Ladies Engaging and Advancing Dining), a group she co-founded to motivate female front-of-house leaders.
Side Dishes: She’s semi-obsessed with motorized scooters, and used to take photos of herself on strangers’ rides. Today she zips between venues on her own scooter — named Walter.
Auld collects “miniature” things (think: a tiny cheese grater, diminutive coffee mugs) and has “a dream of making a coffee-table photo book of large men holding small things.”
Brooke Barsanti, 26Food & Wine Program Manager at Boston Center for Adult Education
Like a dream school for foodies — think fewer textbooks and more cookbooks — Barsanti’s courses at the BCAE bring local food and drink stars to lead courses that are actually, well, cool. Foodies flock to insidery, interactive series like “Behind the Line,” which allows students to feel like they’re working in a real restaurant kitchen. Even if you don’t sign up for one of Barsanti’s innovative courses, Bostonians can experience her passion for epicurean education through the gallery shows and food fund-raisers she regularly organizes. Or, you can just check out what she’s eating on her personal Instagram: @dailyfoodfill.
Side Dish: Barsanti can cook and catch her dinner. She loves to fish — from ice water to freshwater, catching everything from striper to shark.
Brendan Burke, 26Sous-Chef at Bastille Kitchen
This California School of Culinary Arts grad has a big responsibility — literally. Fort Point behemoth Bastille Kitchen is a 240-seat, $4-million French bistro from famed hospitality honcho Seth Greenberg, the man behind Mistral. Burke, who previously helped helm Big Night Entertainment Group restaurants GEM and Red Lantern, is entrusted with the success of this splashy newcomer, working alongside one of last year's 30 Under 30 honorees, exec chef Adam Kube. Peers praise Burke's quietly focused kitchen style, and he swept this year's Top Secret Top Chef Battle series held by “in” crowd events group The Good Ones. Not a secret: Burke is a rising champ.
Side Dish: Before moving to Boston, Burke spent three years living on a ski resort. He says if he ever opens his own restaurant, it’ll be “on the side of a ski resort, so I can do a little boarding in my time off.”
Cassandria Campbell and Jackson Renshaw, 29 and 25Director of Development and Director of Operations
Campbell and Renshaw are mixing food and social justice with their Fresh Food Generation truck, which brings healthy Latin and Caribbean cuisine to low-income areas of the city. Campbell holds an MIT master's in city planning, Renshaw is a former farmer with a degree in ecological agriculture from the University of Vermont, and both credit work with The Food Project, a Roxbury nonprofit that teaches farming to inner-city teens, for firing up their activist-meets-epicurean passions. Now, it's full steam ahead, with eyes on a brick-and-mortar.
Side Dishes: Campbell proudly calls herself a “nerd.” But when she’s not reading up on her favorite subjects — history and economic theory — you’ll often find her on a dance floor. And yes, she can teach you how to Dougie.
In his senior year, Renshaw built an unheated greenhouse to grow food for his high school cafeteria.
Evy Chen, 26Founder at EvyTea
Change is brewing in what you drink. EvyTea, Chen's award-winning line of bottled beverages, uses a unique cold-brewing process to yield luscious, delicate flavors with low caffeine and high antioxidants. In a market swamped with sugar-loaded aberrations, Chen wanted to show that tea, like wine or beer, is a nuanced drink reflecting artisanal technique. It hasn't been easy. Her idea emerged after winning an Emerson College entrepreneurship program, but EvyTea was turned down by every American bottling company: "It won't work," they said. Wrong. Now Evy is in Whole Foods stores and small markets, and Chen is steeping a new idea: a "Bev Lab" incubator for beverage entrepreneurs.
Side Dishes: Chen had a well-traveled childhood. She grew up in Southern China as the daughter of two TV journalists, and says traveling with her parents sparked an early interest in discovering new foods, drinks and techniques.
No wonder she can run a business. Chen used to run track semiprofessionally.
Kat Cook, 26Chef-Owner at Farmer's Market Kitchen
Today's restaurant diner expects to see local ingredients on their plate. But it's a lot harder to source from small farms when you're feeding hundreds of partygoers at large-scale catering events. With Watertown's Farmer's Market Kitchen, Cook has created a business that creates custom menus with locavore cred and delivers them for everything from backyard parties to weddings. Locals can swing by the just-opened storefront for takeaway soups and sandwiches, plus something sweet: Maye's Gourmet chocolates. Cook is now head chocolatier for the small-batch confectioner, founded by her aunt 40 years ago.
Side Dishes: Cook was a Junior Olympic equestrian, and her family has a long history in sled-dog racing; she grew up with over 40 Siberian huskies.
She has a tattoo of her culinary idol, Julia Child, on her upper arm.
Joshua Culpo, 29Co-Owner at Lulu's Allston
Culpo has the bar scene in his blood. As a tyke, he'd saunter behind the bar of the Pittsfield pub his family owned to fix himself a soda. Now he's serving thirsty Allston crowds an alternative to the dive scene that characterizes that student-heavy neighborhood. Lulu's craft brews, ciders and creative comfort-food menu has made it an after-work hit for young professionals, saving them a trip downtown. Culpo keeps his first enterprise running smoothly, thanks to managerial experience gleaned from his uncle's popular Parish Cafe and during a brief pass through the corporate finance world. Now he's investing in the future, with another project on the horizon soon.
Side Dishes: Culpo is cousin to Olivia Culpo, the former Miss Universe and a current celeb-blog fixture thanks to her relationship with Nick Jonas.
He has an unlikely musical talent. Culpo grew up playing the accordion, thanks to lessons from his grandpa.
Jacqueline Dole, 26Pastry Chef at Mei Mei Street Kitchen
Food nerds bow to the brilliance of Dole, who brings a wildly creative pastry program to this Chinese-American cult fave. Fan favorites include jars of pumpkin cheesecake, miso cookies and basil snickerdoodles. She caught the bakery bug while working at an ice cream shop when she had to do a last-minute sub for a cake decorator. Dole honed her culinary credentials at the upscale Catalyst, then segued into food-truck territory as a marketing guru for Roxy's Gourmet Grilled Cheese. Now she brings Mei Mei her passion, ingenuity and dedication to sourcing local fruits, ice creams and chocolates. One day, she says, she'll open her own space. Sweet.
Side Dish: Dole always keeps poles and a tackle box in her car, in case she has time for a little bit of fishing. Growing up in rural New Hampshire, she says, her dad also taught her how to shoot a rifle and hunt.
Sara Fetbroth, 26General Manager at Oleana
With the food media world so focused on what’s new and hot, it takes a super-creative chef and a strong manager to keep a more established restaurant buzzing with diners. Cambridge’s Oleana has local legend Ana Sortun behind the stoves and rising star Fetbroth taking care of the rest. She studied at Cornell's School of Hotel Administration, honed her front-of-house skills at farm-to-table pioneer Henrietta's Table and now runs one of the area's top three Zagat-rated restaurants. She credits patience, curiosity and strong mentors for propelling her career. Now she learns largely from her guests, always engaging the room to become a better student — and for her staff, a stronger teacher.
Side Dishes: Fetbroth grew up in a food-loving family, but her earliest career dream was actually to be a WNBA player. She realized that wouldn’t work out, she says, when she stopped growing at 5’4”.
Management means being productive on the go, but Fetbroth’s no tech geek. She does just fine, she says, with an outdated flip phone.
Seth Freidus, 26Bar Manager at Alden & Harlow
Since opening in January, Alden & Harlow has swiftly gone from one of the area’s most anticipated new restaurants to one of the city’s most heralded. Much credit goes to cocktail whiz Freidus, whose always-innovative integration of seasonal ingredients, from sweet potato to pickled sunchoke, reflects the farm-fresh happenings in the kitchen. He learned much of his craft under cocktail guru Jackson Cannon at Eastern Standard, and earlier in his career Freidus worked in Legal Sea Foods' 10,000-bottle wine cellar with Sandy Block, the East Coast's first certified Master of Wine. Now his masterful mixing, especially the always-surprising draft cocktails, is a key element of this Harvard Square hot spot’s success.
Side Dishes: His ultimate goal is to open his own place, ideally a bar dedicated to historically accurate tiki drinks.
Freidus loves staying active in the great outdoors. You’ll find him wakeboarding in the summer and snowboarding in the winter, and he’s a multitime skydiver looking forward to his next leap.
Jeff Gabel, 26Founder at Kitchen Kibitz
As any NYC-to-Boston transplant will tell you, the Hub has a dearth of classic Jewish delis. Enter Long Island native Gabel and his pop-up, which over the last year has built a culinary community through a series of collaborations with top chefs, from 30 Under 30 alum Josh Lewin to Hungry Mother's Barry Maiden, with whom Gabel threw the 100-seat "Southern Schmear," where fried chicken met challah waffles. Gabel, who worked in a prominent Boston Jewish nonprofit, says he uses these creative events as cultural storytelling, reconnecting Jewish locals to traditions while inviting a whole new world of diners to discover this old-world cuisine.
Side Dishes: Gabel has a dream of being a farmer — but not the type you think. He’d love to own an alpaca farm.
Even in the city, he winds up driving most places — because he has a not-so-secret fear of being trapped on the T.
Charles Gaeta, 29General Manager/Beverage Director at The Blue Ox Restaurant & Bar
Gaeta walked away from a career in investment banking — he spent many nights wining and dining in NYC's clubby steakhouses — to start at the bottom of the restaurant world: He became a busser at The Blue Ox in his native Lynn. He fell in love with the food world and worked his way up the ranks, establishing a reputation for spotlighting small wine producers, craft beers and locally distilled spirits in creative cocktails. His secret: constant study. Gaeta, a grad of BU's Wine Program, is currently pursuing the advanced level of the Court of Master Sommeliers.
Side Dishes: He once appeared on the front page of Sports Illustrated. Ok, not for his fastball. He was behind Roger Clemens, who was signing autographs.
Gaeta’s best buds with Pete Frates, the former BC baseball player whose “ice bucket challenge” to support ALS research went viral this year. Gaeta launched an ongoing fundiraiser at The Blue Ox that will donate money to the StrikeOutALS Fund for the purchase of certain wine bottles.
Thomas Griffin, 26Sous-Chef at East by Northeast, Cambridge, MA
One of the area's best modern Chinese restaurants has renewed energy under Griffin, a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu College and alum of yet another creative, industry-fave Asian eatery, Shojo. Griffin cut his teeth at 18, pushing 1,200 lunches a day out of the kitchen at Cape Cod's Chatham Squire, then moved through the kitchen of the Renaissance Boston's former 606 Congress restaurant. His ambition is obvious at East, finding an outlet through innovative dinner series, like the region-hopping "ExNE Explores" and five-course tasting "Chef's Window," which allows diners to directly interact with the kitchen.
Side Dishes: Like Griffin’s long locks? You’ll love them now that you know he’s been growing his hair for three years, to eventually donate it to a foundation helping cancer patients.
When he’s not in the kitchen, you’ll find him whisking down some asphalt-covered hill or another. Griffin is an avid downhill longboarder.
Kate Holowchik, 29Pastry Chef and Sous-Chef at Bread and Salt Hospitality at Wink & Nod
Holowchik calls dessert the “goodbye kiss” at the end of a meal. Now Boston is puckering up for her pastries, known for being polished, pretty and playful. Take her famous Fernet bonbons, boozy ice cream treats she first developed at Sorriso and Les Zygomates. They blew up, as did Holowchik's rep, during a stint at quirky industry fave jm Curley. Now she's joined 30 Under 30 alum Josh Lewin's Bread and Salt, a pop-up in residence at Wink & Nod, where she balances her knack for chef-y childhood treats (Green Chartreuse "Oreos," anyone?) with sophisticated offerings.
Side Dishes: A self-described “dork,” Holowchik says her geekier interests include comic books and a mild ‘80s obsession. “I wear my legwarmers with pride while I sing Toto’s ‘Africa.’”
Her dream business? To run an old-school soda shoppe that turns out ice cream floats, craft sodas and syrups.
Katrina Jazayeri, 25Co-Founder at Bread & Salt Hospitality and Manager at Belly Wine Bar
After earning a degree in social justice, Jazayeri discovered the role food plays in community activism. Moving from California to Somerville, she joined locavore pioneer Cuisine en Locale, launched its winter farmer's market and helped the catering biz expand from a shared kitchen to its own space. She co-founded and manages pop-up Bread & Salt Hospitality; now she's hunting for a permanent home once its Wink & Nod residency expires. She also created Post Oak Aprons, a custom, utilitarian line sported by the staff at Bronwyn and River Bar. Her multitasking talents help her manage sibling spots Belly and Blue Room. All this — and she's only been in town two years.
Side Dishes: Her hidden talent? The ability to “impersonate almost any animal.”
Jazayeri says her family, including her sister, fellow 30 Under 30 honoree Lucia, used a nameless “made-up language” when she was growing up — and even as an adult, she finds herself slipping into it. So if you ever hear her call cabbage “chunch” — now you know why.
Lucia Jazayeri, 28Director of Communications at Clover Food Lab
In six years, Clover has grown from a single food truck to a full fleet and, with the winter addition of a 24-hour Central Square restaurant, six brick-and-mortar locations. Jazayeri has been there since nearly the start, rising from prep cook to marketing manager for a fast-growing brand now expanding into DC. She spreads the gospel of Clover's quick-service philosophy — freezer-free, local-farm-sourced, eco-conscious — through social media and special events, from hot-sauce classes to movie nights, test-product pop-ups to farmer meet and greets. There's much ado about how Clover reinvented fast food, but Jazayeri redefined the stereotypical chain mentality, keeping customer engagement front and center.
Side Dishes: Lucia is a co-founder of Feast Mass, a recurring dinner-party series that raises money to award cash grants to artists.
Though she has her degree in communications from Boston University, her love of food was evident even in college. She took a food writing course under Boston Globe food editor Sheryl Julian and spent a semester abroad covering the dining scene in London.
Sam Kanter, 28Owner-Operator at Sam Kanter Events: restaurant events and consulting
They call her "the chef whisperer." Kanter’s still-young company has carved out a unique niche within the restaurant sphere, partnering with 20 venues in about as many months to coordinate food-focused soirees: from weddings seeking unusual locales to her own burgeoning series of chef-driven events, like September's Breakfast Sandwich Throwdown at State Park. She's currently growing her hospitality-staffing and restaurant-consulting practices, which help eateries hone everything from their menus to their marketing. Because when Kanter whispers, they listen.
Side Dishes: Kanter is a Hyannis native with a funny habit. “If you ask me where I grew up, I immediately use my arm as a map and point out the spot on my bicep. It happens automatically. It can’t be stopped.”
She purposely named her business using “Sam” rather than “Samantha” because, “I wanted it to be androgynous. Women have enough obstacles to overcome.”
Naomi Levy, 28Bar Manager at Eastern Standard Kitchen & Drinks
As only the third bar manager in Eastern Standard's nearly 10-year history, Levy enchants imbibers with a constantly changing cocktail list featuring cool hallmarks like milk punches, savory cocktails (tomato/thyme shrub, anyone?) and veggie infusions: think carrots in Lillet Blanc and pea greens in tequila. She's grabbed the attention of cocktail geeks near and far, winning the 2013 Bärenjäger Bärtender Competition in NYC, sweeping the 2014 United States Bartenders’ Guild’s Bacardi Legacy Cocktail Showcase in Miami and recently hitting Moscow to rep the U.S. at the Legacy Cocktail Global Showcase. She's a winner, in every sense.
Side Dishes: Rosemary saved her life — literally. Levy, an avid traveler, slipped down a cliff in Spain and “hanged for dear life from a rosemary bush until help arrived.”
She’s as comfortable with a welder as with a bar spoon. Levy received her BFA from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, where she focused on metal sculpture.
Travis Kirk Lowry, 26Boston Restaurant Operations Manager at Reserve
Lowry has an appetite for entrepreneurship. Last year he launched a startup, SoonSpoon, a reservation service that pinged diners' mobiles with last-minute openings at in-demand restaurants like Menton and Clio. SoonSpoon amassed over two dozen partner restaurants, thousands of subscribers and $90K in angel investment. The brand even hosted over 20 culinary pop-ups, like pastry pairings in art galleries. This fall Lowry's success story was acquired by the new "dining concierge" service Reserve, an app that adds more bells and whistles, like auto-payment of your tab, plus a larger team and big financial backers. He's proof: If you build it, they will come.
Side Dishes: Think your passport is well stamped? Lowry has traveled to over 40 countries. He rode the Trans-Siberian Railway from Moscow to Beijing, and for a time lived in Syria during an internship for the United Nations.
This is Lowry’s second tech startup. He previously founded OutGrade, a social media platform that let users review local businesses according to their LGBT-friendliness.
Trevor William Martinez, 28General Manager and Beverage Director at Giulia Restaurant
This Italian hit has become a slow-growing, word-of-mouth sensation. Opening manager Martinez is the man responsible for its strong sense of hospitality, having honed his skills at star chef Michael Schlow's late, great Radius. Hailing from Portland, Maine, Martinez especially shines for his wine expertise — whether advising diners on the perfect sip, serving as guest wine steward at the James Beard House or visiting Italy to negotiate exciting exclusive wines for Giulia, which celebrates its second anniversary this month.
Side Dishes: The self-described “sneaker freaker” owns over a hundred pairs of sneakers — some of them have never been worn — but he’s in dress shoes six days a week.
Even in high school, Martinez hung out with fellow foodies. While others sipped Bud Light, he pre-partied for prom with a 1995 Allegrini Amarone, and he and his friends celebrated graduation with an 11-course chef’s tasting at Rob Evans’ esteemed Hugo’s.
Giselle Miller, 26Pastry Chef at Liquid Art House
Miller imbues the element of surprise in her showstopping desserts, from ice cream made from foraged mushrooms to violet ganache flecked with flower petals. The Cordon Bleu grad’s impressive pedigree reflects esteemed Boston spots (she's passed through Sel de la Terre, Radius and Deuxave) alongside Michelin-starred national legends: she has already staged at Philip Foss' EL Ideas in Chicago and under Shawn Gawle at Corton in NYC. But Miller’s individuality really shines in techniques that represent her long-standing interest in the juncture of food and science. You might find her using a Cryovac machine to aerate chocolates for “space rock” shapes, or compressing apples to create glass noodles.
Side Dishes: She likes exploring science in the kitchen — and science fiction on the couch. Miller is a “space geek” with a serious love of Star Wars.
In her free time she loves playing the drums, often getting lessons from one of Liquid Art House’s servers.
Jacki Morisi, 27Private Events and Public Relations Manager at TRADE
Morisi is a prime example of how foodies can turn personal passions into a profession. Her background is in business, but devotion to the dining scene inspired her creation of Just Add Cheese, an influential entry in Boston's early wave of dining blogs. It scored her a Boston.com dining column and got her on the industry’s radar. Soon star chef Jody Adams tapped her for a marketing job at Rialto, where Morisi brought some young energy to the esteemed restaurant. Now she's leading a similar charge at sibling spot Trade, building its brand, wrangling press requests, organizing events and flitting between them herself — as a must-follow food scenester should.
Side Dishes: Her own background is Puerto Rican and Italian (“I grew up on arroz con gandules and chicken picatta”), and she became fluent in French by age 10 after being enrolled in an elementary school immersion program.
Morisi says she’d love to run her own lifestyle magazine one day. She’s already been published on People.com, which posted one of her personal Instagram photos: Neil Patrick Harris drinking margaritas at Rialto.
William Nurse, 28Chef de Cuisine at Metropolis
Nurse isn't much older than Metropolis, the South End stalwart that launched what is now the Aquitaine Group, one of Boston's powerhouse restaurant collectives. Today the Culinary Institute of America grad keeps the cozy bistro feeling fresh and young by adding small, of-the-moment tweaks, like umami ketchup for his polenta fries and sambuca broth for his mussels. Under the steady hand of young-gun Nurse, who previously passed through sibling spot Gaslight, Metropolis wears its age uniquely well.
Side Dish: When Nurse occasionally gets away from the kitchen, you’ll find him following one of two hobbies: snowboarding and pastel drawing.
Michael Oxton, 29Co-Founder at Night Shift Brewing
Oxton turned Night Shift into quite the day job. The three co-founders began by brewing in their apartment kitchen after coming home from their 9-to-5s and then self-distributing from a Subaru. Now Night Shift is a nano-brew phenomenon, as they add chef-y ingredients, like habanero peppers and pink peppercorns, to their experimental ales. This year, Night Shift opened a 16,000-sq.-ft. taproom and production space in Everett to meet demand; they also offer tours and tastings from two dozen draft lines and host food trucks. Another expansion is already on the way, says Oxton. Cheers to that.
Side Dishes: Oxton’s past work experience is eclectic: from teaching English to Chilean high school students to working as a production assistant on the Mark Wahlberg flick Ted.
Before Night Shift was winning beer accolades, Oxton won several awards for his wheel-thrown pottery. “Cue the Ghost jokes,” he says.
Juan Pedrosa , 27Production Manager/Head of Research & Development at Stone & Skillet
Pedrosa is a self-starter who started early: His first job was in sixth grade at a Greek pizzeria, where he was paid in food. After training at the New England Culinary Institute, Pedrosa worked at Jody Adams’ Trade (competing on the Food Network’s Chef Wanted With Anne Burrell along the way) and then took center stage by launching Allston's The Glenville Stops, a soulful Pan-Latin gastropub. Last month he took a new role with Stone & Skillet, the artisanal English muffin line that has become a hit with local chefs; Russell House Tavern even uses them in lieu of burger buns. Pedrosa is pumped about helping the business amp up production and lead the brand’s upcoming push into new food products.
Side Dishes: Pedrosa is quite the handyman, and even did much of the build-out for The Glenville Stops.
He loves film, particularly documentaries, and even started his own still-unfinished script for a doc about running restaurants.
Jillian Rocco, 29General Manager & Wine Director at Row 34
Rocco emphasizes staff education at this shiny new pearl in Garrett Harker's restaurant group (Eastern Standard, Island Creek Oyster Bar, The Hawthorne), using guest speakers and learning activities to amp up team meetings. She credits her own success to the tutelage received at Eastern Standard, where Rocco went from hostess to assistant wine director in five years. After two years of managing The Salty Pig, she returns to Harker's fold with Row 34, where she’s introduced a value-conscious yet sophisticated wine list that pushes beyond raw-bar staples into always-changing, always-interesting waters.
Side Dishes: Rocco says that the first oyster she ever ate was an Island Creek — coincidentally farmed by the same oyster farm that lends its name to Row 34’s sister restaurant.
A self-described “bookworm,” Rocco originally studied English and history at BU. She has read all of Vonnegut’s work and has a particular interest in the Gothic fiction of Poe and his peers.
Jared Sadoian, 26Lead Bartender at The Kirkland Tap & Trotter
In a few short years, Sadoian shot from rookie bartender to beverage director at a James Beard Award— winning restaurant: Craigie on Main, coincidentally the same eatery where he fell in love with cocktail culture while studying at MIT. Sadoian moved to Manhattan for a financial job (bartending in his spare time), but left banking for an opening at Craigie and its eventual sibling, Kirkland. He helped each hone a unique bar identity, the former hewing to classics while the latter skews playful, as with fun yet thoughtful beer and shot pairings. (“Cutt the Schlitz!” is a boilermaker of Cutty Sark and Schlitz beer.) Sadoian just transitioned to lead bartender to spend more time behind the stick, and even launched a spirits education seminar series at MIT.
Side Dishes: Sadoian was a big yo-yo fanatic in his youth. He competed in the 2005 National Yo-Yo Contest in California, and still has a collection of 70 yo-yos in his apartment.
Sadoian is married, and has known his wife since they were (practically) born. The childhood friends have a photograph of themselves together — from when he was three and she was one.
Tyler Wang, 27General Manager at Audubon
Tyler Wang is foremost a performer. With a background in musical theater, the dapper mixologist brings a bit of showmanship to the bar. He started bartending while studying at Boston Conservatory and then ditched the audition circuit to pursue the cocktail craft full-time. He started out at Barbara Lynch’s Drink, then moved to her flagship No. 9 Park before launching the drink program at Tony Maws' Kirkland Tap & Trotter. Now he charms guests at Audubon, using management skills studied at New England Culinary Institute while still shaking up precisely balanced creative cocktails with the engaging persona of a classic barkeep — or a great actor.
Side Dishes: Wang sells cool tie clips fashioned from demitasse spoons on Etsy. And yes, he discovered the idea while on the job — to keep his necktie clean.
Performing is in his blood. Wang’s father is a former professional ballet dancer, and Wang himself was already studying by age five.
Michael Wyatt, 25Bar Manager and Beverage Director at Ward 8 Restaurant & Bar
Until recently, North Enders had two options when grabbing a drink: vino-focused Italian restaurants on one side, beer-soaked TD Garden-side pubs on the other. Wyatt changed that when Ward 8, named for the Boston-born whiskey cocktail, opened last year. The Eastern Standard vet brought creative craft cocktails to this Italian neighborhood, though the quality of the drinks would wow anywhere in town. His menu is divided by spirit, highlighting classic approaches alongside playful variations, like a Bloody Mary with bacon-infused vodka or “New England daiquiri” sweetened with Vermont maple syrup. One of five national finalists in last year's Angostura Cocktail Challenge at Tales of the Cocktail, Wyatt is also known for expertise with tiki cocktails, served in an array of kitschy cups.
Side Dishes: Wyatt seriously considered going to medical school, and worked as an EMT for three years before committing full time to the restaurant biz. But please do not test his life-saving skills at the bar.
Ironically, Wyatt almost never orders cocktails when it’s his turn to hit the bar. He only drinks beer or booze straight up.