Since opening its doors a little over two years ago, Berkley Bar in the Pavilion shopping center has become a popular spot to enjoy a libations and provisions in a friendly and lively (yet relaxing) space. While Berkley Bar has gained a reputation as the go-to wine bar in the area, the new bar manager, Eli Bob has some exciting new ideas to set the bar even higher for Berkley Bar by expanding its craft cocktail selections and ensuring that every visit to Berkley Bar is one you won’t forget.
Berkley Bar has always offered top-notch service from knowledgeable service staff, but Eli Bob wants to help all staff focus on creating an extra special experience for his guests. Bob prides himself on his desire to always find a way to connect with people and surpass their expectations.
Born and raised in Sacramento, CA, Eli Bob attended Rio Americano High School. Bob moved to New York when he was 19-years-old to attend culinary school where he received his Bachelor of Professional Studies in Hospitality Management (hence his focus on exceptional customer service).
Bob has been bartending at Berkley Bar pretty much since it opened. During that time, he was also working at the Luna Lounge in Carmichael, CA. Bob was the first hire at Luna Lounge over nine years ago. Thanks to his work ethic and top-notch personality and bartending skills, Bob was asked to take over management of the bar a couple months ago, and the changes he has made have already been noticed by staff and customers. Whether you are already a regular, haven’t visited in a while, or never been…you are in for a treat the next time you visit Berkley Bar (bonus points if you visit when Eli Bob is behind the bar).
Let’s get to know the new captain of the ship with a little Q&A…..
Q: First job ever…
A: I was barista at Bella Bru Café in Carmichael at age 16. I worked there all through high school and for a year while I was at ARC. I went back after I finished culinary school and moved back to Sacramento. Apparently, they liked something I did at some point.
Q: Best part of working at Berkley Bar?
A: Action. When a decision is made in this company, deployment is immediate. It still blows me away how quickly things happen here.
Q: What is your favorite activity outside of work?
A: I am a golf fanatic!
Q: What is your favorite golf course to play at in the Sacramento or surrounding areas?
A: Ancil Hoffman. That course is an absolute treasure for Sacramento. Its long, its narrow, and lately the greens have been lightening fast.
Q: My most overused saying is….?
A: “Why am I SO hungover?” or “I kid, I kid.”
Q: What is something you cannot live without?
A: I have a somewhat debilitating power tool addiction. Walking through Home Depot is more of an act of restraint than a errand for essentials for me. And Naked Coffee. Thankfully, I live right across the street from the roasting plant.
Q: What are you scared of?
A: I’ve always said I’m only afraid of four things: memory loss, passing a kidney stone, hitting my first hole-in-one without a witness, and I can’t remember the fourth. Fortunately, 2 years ago, I hit my first hole-in-one in a tournament and it was very well documented.
Q: What was the first concert you ever attended?
A: Steve Winwood at Cal Expo. I was 6 years old and fell asleep during the opening act. My parents still say it was the most expensive nap they’ve ever funded.
Q: What is the wisest thing someone has told you?
A: I used to work for Guy Fieri, back before he was on TV. A lot of people are surprised to learn that he and his business partner are highly skilled restaurant operators. They’re really good at empowering their people to take ownership of their locations. He once told me, “You’d rather get yelled at for doing something than for doing nothing.” Meaning, if you’re in the fight, don’t just stand and take punches. Take action. React and take control.
Q: What is your favorite food?
A: Lately, I ‘m going through a duck thing. I love the richness, but even more I like the process. I go to this Asian food store on Broadway, and then pantomime the international symbol for duck (flapping my arms above my head like a complete idiot) to overcome the language barrier. They sell the whole duck- head and feet attached- for under 15 bucks. I break it down, render the fat, and use the bones in my chicken stock. I don’t use the head or bill, but I can get a 98% yield out of the whole duck, and I think its important to use the whole animal. It died to be in my kitchen; the least I can do is use the whole thing.
Q: What is your go-to drink?
A: I’m usually a shot-and-a-beer type of guy. Lately, our Basil Cooler at Berkley Bar is on fire. We had a decent recipe with great ingredients, and it always sold well, but we just weren’t executing it properly. Brad Peters came in and helped us re-tool the drink, and I think it’s a home-run now.
Q: If you could add anything to the menu/ bar what would it be?
A: I’d really like to start doing some infusions and some barrel-aging of cocktails.
Q: Favorite food-related TV show…
A: Alton Brown’s Good Eats. Alton is a little smug, but when you’re that knowledgeable, you can kind of get away with it. Its like Bill Nye the Science Guy meets Harold McGee. Top Chef, too. I’ve seen a bunch of my culinary school buddies on there, so that’s always pretty cool.
Q: Best PRG memory…
A: Oh, man… So on New Year’s Eve 1999, I was working as a busser at Twenty-Eight (now Ink), and it was the nicest restaurant in town. We had been rented out for a private party that really spared no expense. We spent the whole night a little worried about this whole Y2K frenzy. We worked like crazy and the small amount of lingering fear grew and grew as midnight got closer. At the end of the countdown, there was an awkward moment where everyone looked around the restaurant, realized the lights were still on, looked out on the intersection of 28th and N, and saw street lights on and the world continuing to go on. There was definitely a palpable sigh of relief.
Then once around the same time, Randy stopped into the restaurant around 7 or 8 pm, on his way home. He took a few minutes, walked around and spoke to the entire staff, asking, “Hey. I have to grab Jimboys on the way home for a bunch of friends. What’s your favorite thing there?” We all told him our favorites, he left, and came back a half hour later with dinner from Jimboy’s for the whole staff. For no reason other than to just say thanks for coming to work today. It was a cool gesture and the way it went about it was pretty slick.
A: Double-double, animal style. Law and Order SVU, Words with Friends, Oak Park Brewing Co. Citra IPA, the Zig Zag handroll at Mikuni, and of course the Bernardo Thai Noodle salad. I never get sick of that damned thai noodle salad.
Q: What is your favorite PRG restaurant or bar?
A: R15. Its amazing to me how good of shape their pool tables are in for how much play they get. Although the tequila infusions at Centro are pretty amazing. Come to think of it, Monkey Bar’s $2.50 PBR. No. The Fanta sliders at Hock Farm. This is a tough question….
Q: Who is your greatest role model?
A: Definitely my dad because he is the hardest working person and the smartest…like off the charts smart.
Berkley Bar is located at 515 Pavilions Lane, Sacramento, CA 95825.
View their entire menu and hours here: http://www.paragarys.com/sacramento-restaurants/berkley-bar/
Follow them on Instragram: @berkleybar_
Posted on 05/09/2016 at 10:57:00 AM