Among bartenders, professional courtesy sometimes starts with a shot. It’s the little lagniappe from a bartender on duty to another who might be sliding in for a visit, perhaps after her own shift.
The inside lingo for such an offering is a bartender’s handshake. At a special event Sunday (Oct. 1), it will mean something a little different, though still in keeping with the same spirit of solidarity.
Cocktail pros from across the city are coming together for Bartender's Handshake, a benefit at Treo (3835 Tulane Ave.) for their peers in areas hard hit by Hurricane Harvey. The event is from noon to 7 p.m. Proceeds will go to the U.S. Bartenders' Guild chapter in Houston to distribute according to need within its own communities.
Treo manager Tyler Chauvin said the idea resonated and spread quickly in the New Orleans bartender circuit.
"We saw it here after Katrina, service industry people are underserved, underinsured, under-represented,” said Chauvin. “When something like this happens, they don't just lose homes and cars, they can lose their jobs, too. The hospitality industry is hard hit, and they don't have a lot of people looking out for them."
A dozen bartenders known for drink styles both contemporary and classic will take part in an all-day cocktail competition.
The contenders are Cole Newton and Megan Devine, from 12 Mile Limit; Anna Mangiardi, from 21st Amendment; Chris Hannah, from Arnaud's French 75; Lucinda Weed, from the Black Penny; Evan Wolf, from the Company Burger; Abigail Gullo, from Compere Lapin; Brooke Flaherty, from the Erin Rose; Hadi Ktiri, from the Roosevelt Hotel; Laura Belluccim, from SoBou; Paul Gustings, from Tujague’s; and Tyler Chauvin, from Treo.
The 610 Stompers will run a beer pong competition, with brew sponsored by Urban South, and there will be a bocce tournament in the courtyard, with team registration fees going to the cause.
Throughout the event, Treo will serve its happy hour specials. DJs and the Americana/roots band the St. Claude Serenaders provide the tunes. A suggested donation of $10 at the door includes food from local eateries.
Tchouptoberfest debuts downtown
The chefs Donald Link and Stephen Stryjewski started a charitable foundation to give a different focus to their company’s civic engagement and philanthropy. That work is also casting some of the chefs’ culinary interests and even their restaurant spaces in a new light.
So it goes that on Sunday (Oct. 1), they’re hosting Tchouptoberfest, a Bavarian-themed block party that presses the indoor/outdoor potential of their eatery Butcher (930 Tchoupitoulas St.) and the meaty products of its kitchen into fundraising tools. The party is from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Ticket proceeds and sales of food and drink at the event benefit the Link Stryjewski Foundation, which in turn funds community organizations serving youth in New Orleans and addressing issues of poverty and violence.
Tchouptoberfest will turn the 300 block of Andrew Higgins Drive outside of Butcher into an array of food stations for brats and currywurst, choucroute and soft pretzels, sausage on a stick and other Germanic flavors. A $20 ticket gets you in to pay as you go.
With its garage doors opening to the street, Butcher itself will serve as a VIP section, accessed with the (exquisitely named) Bratz Pass.
Oktoberfest themes are common this time of year, though Butcher is well primed to carry the idea through to its new event. As Link pointed out, many of the sausages common to Louisiana butcher shops are based on German tradition.
“The seasoning changed along the way, but the grind, the process, that’s German,” said Link, whose own Louisiana family heritage goes back to Germany.
While Butcher and other Link Restaurant Group properties are preparing the food, some of the event's live music is coming from in-house, too. Butcher employees are part of the lineup of bands, a roster of alt outfits that includes Polish Pete and the Polkas, Rik Slaves’ Country Persuasion, Conor Donohue, Midriff, Motel Radio and Sexy Dex and the French.
These are not your typical festival circuit bands, and that's part of the point here. Link and Stryjewski say they're out to create new events to draw more people into the circle of supporters for the community organizations they back. More such food-forward events are in the works. On Nov. 7, the foundation will host a dim sum dinner at the restaurant group’s event space Calcasieu, which taps one of Link’s own culinary hobbies.
“This is about more than doing one event, we want to throw parties like this, bring in money and put the money to good use,” said Link.
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