Mike Miloscia knows about getting served. As General Manager of the achingly popular Pig and Khao on the Lower East Side, a good part of his day is spent making sure that everyone in his line of vision is getting what they want, which is never an easy task in the organized but chaotic world of a prime new spot.
However, his experience come with benefits — like knowing how to make friends and few waves in the food industry. Miloscia pulled out a chair at the bar to offer some advice on avoiding bribery, earning neighborhood respect and why it pays to pimp out Vermouth.
HOW TO GET GOOD SERVICE
Honestly, just don’t be a dick. Your social interaction with the restaurant’s staff sets the tone for the service you are going to get. Start off by just being a nice person. It makes it easy for people to want to take care of you, which is ultimately the most important thing.
Don’t try and bribe anyone at the door. It’s corny and actually makes you look like a dick. You are trying to buy your way in for some reason–not a good look. What you should do is overtip when you pay your bill and don’t point it out to anyone. Just leave it. That’s it. Say thank you to people and they will royally remember you when you come in next time. Trust me.
Frequenting the same restaurant over and over again will also get you great service. At least, it should. Any good hospitality operation understands the importance of repeat business and recognizing regulars. Acknowledgement is key. Keep the relationship alive. Massage it.
HOW TO OPEN UP SHOP IN A NEW COMMUNITY AND WIN
You have to earn the respect. Never, ever demand it. It’s the kiss of death. Get after it in an old-school kind of way. Walk into neighborhood establishments. Introduce yourself to neighboring businesses. Exchange business cards. Set up a discount at your place. Buy something from their place. If you are a restaurant, send some food over to an influential business in your hood. If you’re a bar, drop a couple of six-packs off. Don’t ask for or expect anything in return. Just do the deed. Be excited about your product and that you are becoming a part of someone else’s neighborhood. Be real with people. Let everyone know that you are there to augment what is already happening in the neighborhood, not change it. Be local, and be proud.
HOW TO TAKE FULL ADVANTAGE OF A BEER AND WINE LICENSE
At Pig and Khao, we have a beer and wine license, not a full liquor license. That doesn’t mean we were going to throw in the towel and not try to come up with cool and exciting drinks. Vermouth, for example, is actually an aromatized wine, and there are many different styles of vermouth with unique flavor profiles that lend themselves very well to cocktail creation. You do have to put on your thinking cap, though.
We have a cocktail at Pig and Khao called the Clinton St. Cooler. We use an Italian white vermouth called Cocchi Americano from the Asti region. It’s actually based on Moscato d’ Asti wine. It has a similar flavor profile to it as far as the sweetness goes, but then there is a pleasant bitter quality that adds to its complexity. So for the Clinton St. Cooler, we make a syrup out of Hitachino Nest White Ale. The flavor profile of that beer has an awesome hint of orange in it that, when reduced into a syrup, pairs nicely with the Cocchi Americano. To finish the drink, we add a little orange blossom water and top it off with Prosecco. It’s a light, refreshing cocktail that balances sweet, bitter, and floral. Come have one. We’re donating a portion of the proceeds to the Red Cross for the entire month of November.