Jen Lewis, the assistant general manager at Cafe Bernardo on K and KBAR, is a Sacramento native with a passion for the growth of the downtown Sacramento dining and nightlife. Jen’s career with Paragary Restaurant Group began in November 2014 as a bartender and supervisor at Cafe Bernardo Midtown and Monkey Bar located on Capitol and 28th in midtown Sacramento. Her hard work, quick wit and humor quickly earned her a spot in the heart of frequenters to the midtown location.
In August 2015, Jen was promoted to assistant general manager of Cafe Bernardo on K and KBAR located on K and 10th Street in downtown Sacramento. Jen is the type of manager who is willing to get her hands dirty while remembering the importance of keeping a positive attitude. Let’s learn more about Jen and what keeps her smiling (and keeps her poof so high)!
Q: Where are you from?
A: Sacramento. College Greens to be exact.
Q: What are your favorite activities outside of work/the kitchen?
A: As most of my friends know, I’m a bit of a sports fanatic. So, you can bet if there’s a baseball game on TV or near by, I’ll know the score…Especially if Cleveland is playing.
Q: Where is your go-to hangout in Sacramento (a bar, a hidden river spot … )?
A: You can probably catch me at a Midtown or East Sac dive bar like the Round Corner, Club 2-Me, Chargins, or Hilltop. But honestly, since I work such high volume shifts, sometimes hanging out on my front porch is the only place I want to be.
Q: What is something you cannot live without?
A: A hair tie. The higher the poof the closer to God.
Q: Who is your greatest inspiration/role model?
A: My parents, hands down. They’ve been married for 40 years, supported and loved me unconditionally through my ups and downs, and could not have set a better example of the type of person I should strive to be.
Q: What are you scared of?
A: Moths. Byeee.
Q: What was the first concert you ever attended?
A: Santana and Jeff Beck when I was 12 at Cal Expo Amphitheater.
Q: What is the best advice you have received?
A: “Change the way you look at things and the things you look at change.”
Q: What is your all-time favorite cocktail/dish/thing to cook? Eat?
A: To cook, a breakfast bagel. My parents used to get them on Saturday mornings from New York Bagel Boys and now since they’re closed, I make my own. To eat, my Mom’s turkey salad. Mr. Pickle’s chicken salad is a close second but Mama always wins.
Q: What is the most outrageous dish/cocktail you have ever cooked/eaten?
A: Anything my mom used to cook for her dinner parties when I was younger. She’s made everything from Corn Boats (she would literally fashion a boat-like vessel out of a corn husk, fill it with a corn, onion, and squash ragu, and top it off with shredded cheese and crushed up tortilla chips) to actual orange tree leaves she would dip in melted chocolate to make chocolate leaves.
Q: Best part of working at PRG?
A: Everything I’ve learned. I was lucky enough to start with Stacey Stell at Monkey Bar/Cafe Bernardo Midtown and then work under Jason Flint here at KBar. The two of them have taught me more about running a restaurant and bar that I could have ever imagined.
Q: First job ever…
A: I was a senior at Christian Brothers and got hired as a hostess at Sudwerks, the one that was across the street from Cal Expo, with Jason Flint actually! I’ve worked my way up since then and have held every imaginable FOH position.
Q: What is your favorite food?
A: Sushi. If my boyfriend wasn’t a meat and potatoes guy from Southeast Texas I’d probably get to eat it more.
Q: What is your favorite cocktail/drink?
A: Champagne … but only in moderation now. My friends whose weddings I’ve attended could attest to this.
Q: If you could add anything to the menu/bar what would it be?
A: I wish I could get rid of everything Big Beer and feature beers only from microbreweries in California, or Sacramento even. I love supporting local businesses.
Q: Favorite food-related TV show…
A: Top Chef.
Q: Best PRG memory…
A: My last day at Monkey Bar. I walked out with a barrage of gifts, treats, etc. I hadn’t quite worked there a year, but it was nice to feel so missed after only a short time.
A: Hoodies. I have a million and want more.
Q: What is your favorite PRG restaurant or bar?
A: I literally could never choose. I’ve had such amazing food and experiences at each location it’s impossible to nail down a favorite.
Q: Favorite thing about living in Sacramento?
A: The excitement of a city on the rise. And I’ll be waiting for you all at KBar when you get out of the first Kings game at the brand new arena.
Posted on 06/01/2016 at 12:00:00 AM