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Food & Dining // Food & Beverage Focus
Jo McGarry

Daniel Bruce

Jo McGarry photo

Bartender at Ruth’s Chris Steak House Honolulu

Born and raised? Kailua, Oahu.

Did you imagine a career in the food and beverage industry? Never. When I was younger, I thought all bartenders were like Sam Malone (Cheers).

Why gravitate toward the bar rather than restaurant? One of the things I love about the bar is that 11 different people can sit down and I can start 11 different conversations with each of them. Or they merge into two or three conversations or, on a rare occasion, one giant conversation. People will walk past each other on the street without saying hello, but sitting at a bar they can seem like best friends. It’s beautiful.

Do you make drinks at home? Always! I love trying new ideas for drinks and I have no problem being my own guinea pig!

What’s always in your fridge? Ingredients for an awesome Bloody Mary! At any given time, anyone can walk into my house and have one. Who doesn’t love a great Bloody Mary?

Where do you like to go when you’re not working? Pint & Jigger (South King Street) and Ferguson’s Irish Pub downtown. Both have great atmospheres and high-quality cocktails, and they are both great places to have a drink after work or catch a football game.

What makes a good bar? Three things: atmosphere, service and quality. I’ll pay $20 for a drink if I walk into a place that feels fun, has a great bartender and makes a high-quality, hand-crafted cocktail!

Your favorite holiday cocktail? My holiday cocktail is a Manhattan with spice-infused bourbon and a touch of apple cider with a Madeira-soaked cherry. Delicious!

Dining at the bar versus dining in the restaurant. You never know who you are going to sit next to, or what you are going to be talking about at the bar. There are some truly interesting people in this world, and you often find them dining at the bar. Dining in a restaurant is different because you already know who you’re spending the entire evening with.

What would you be if you weren’t tending bar? A teacher. I love to talk and love to teach new things to people, so I think I’d be a good fit.

Favorite dish at RCSH? The Cowboy Ribeye. It’s a 22-ounce bone-in, wet-aged, well-marbled cut of beef cooked perfectly and served on a hot plate with melted butter. (Please don’t touch the plate).

And dessert? Chocolate Sin Cake. Our flourless chocolate cake is rich and delicious! It’s perfect with a glass of red wine or port.

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