Dragonfly Bar Master loves her work
By Mike Sanford, GLOB Editor
Dragonfly Sushi Bar Manager, Kristin Amron, is one of the three best female bartenders in Gainesville.
That notoriety, is placed on Mrs. Amron by one T.J. Palmieri, a longtime Gainesville mixology professional who is considered by many bar professionals in the downtown area to be the Yoda, Sensei Master, of the Gainesville bar scene.
"When I moved back to Gainesville several years ago and decided the service industry was to be my calling, I returned to bartending at Lillian's. Shortly thereafter I met T.J. who was bar managing at Dragonfly at the time. He began to hound me for months about going to work for him. Eventually, I gave in and it was the best decision I could have made." Kristin said.
"T.J. taught me (and continues to teach me) a lot about the world of mixology and set me on my professional bar management course," Kristin added.
It hasn't been a quick transition from college student/restaurant server to Bar Master of Dragonfly, one of the more popular dining establishments in Gainesville. Kristin began her bartending career at Harry's Seafood Bar & Grille before graduating from the University of Florida with a Bachelors in Event Management. She went on to expand her experience over the years by serving and bartending at a couple fine dining restaurants in the Birmingham, Alabama, area as well.
After spending a couple years living in Birmingham while her husband pursued his PhD, they decided to move back to their beloved Gainesville. At first Kristin wanted to move away from the service industry to try something different and worked as a banker for a little over a year. "I have to say, working at a bank really made me miss bartending," says Kristin. "Taking that step away made me realize where my true passion lies."
"That's when I went back to bartending and eventually met TJ," Kristin said. "He is an amazing study in craft cocktail creation. He knows every drink and mix combinations many bartenders may never think of."
When TJ decided to leave Dragonfly to pursue his dream of running his own bar, Kristin found herself presented with an opportunity she never thought she'd have. "I was ready for the challenge." Kristin said with an assured tone of voice. "I'm very grateful that my Dragonfly family believes in my passion and talent."
Dragonfly recently completed a substantial remodel to their bar area by opening the windows to an outside bar that will multiply the restaurant's business with more patio seating and bar accessibility.
"It was a great experience to be allowed to participate in
the Dragonfly redesign," Kristin said. "We are all real excited for the weather to warm up and to see the customers interact outside on Dragonfly's patio while watching the bar activity through the new big windows," she added
Mrs. Amron encourages bartending colleagues to push the cocktail envelope by talking with customers and creating custom drink adventures.
"It's fun to work with Bar keep Sebastian and the other talented barkeeps. We are always challenging each other to see what clever, tasty drinks we can create."
With Valentine's Day looming on the horizon, Kristin suggests her original Lover's Lane Cocktail would be the perfect drink for any happy Valentine on that special lovers' night out.
"It's a delicious blend of strawberries and cilantro with crisp champagne to quickly set the stage for love and romance," Kristin said (right).
Kristin sees her career track spiraling upward in the field of mixology with the expectation of a life-long adventure of restaurants, dining, and professional customer service.. "I can see myself owning my own bar somewhere down the line," Kristin said looking to the DF ceiling imagining the future.
"Nothing fancy for me however, some seriously amazing bourbons, maybe a few craft beers and cocktails for the contented, every day regulars," she said. "A perfect trip to my bar would be an evening with a few great appetizers, serious conversation, and exquisite top shelf liquor."