SPVAQ32021 - 72

Claudia Linton, Shadwell's Restaurant, Charlottesville
laudia Linton started working in
restaurants at Outback in Richmond
around 2012. She started at the host stand
and worked her way up to bartending and
front-of-house management. For the past two
years, she's been at Shadwell's Restaurant in
The restaurant takes its name from Thomas
Jefferson's birthplace and childhood home,
Shadwell Plantation, so the menu is naturally
focused on Southern-fresh comfort food: shecrab
soup, pimento cheese, deviled eggs, fried
Virginia oysters, Tangier-style crab cakes and
fried chicken as well as steaks, salads, burgers
and more. During COVID restrictions, Shadwell's
was able to offer online ordering, including
beer, wine and cocktails, and opened up as
restrictions loosened.
What do you enjoy about working behind
the bar?
I like making drinks, but it's also the direct
personal interactions with customers seated at
the bar. You get to be creative, and if customers
really enjoy something, they're very vocal about
what they enjoy and what they don't.
What's your biggest challenge as a bartender?
The rush and impatience of coworkers and
customers on a busy night, like a Friday or
Saturday night. We're still trying to maintain
that smile, that professionalism. I have to
remember what I'm doing it for. You get into
the customer service industry for a reason, and
that's to be around people and meet people.
How has the job been different this past year?
We were closed for about six to seven months.
Then we were trying to readjust and reopen
and make sure that the restrictions were still
being practiced, welcoming back our regulars
as well as new customers. A lot of times as a
bartender, you're like that personal therapist
for the customer, so you need to make sure
you're upbeat for the sake of your customers.
How have customers made this time easier?
One way is seeing some of our regulars come
back. Just last night I had a customer, one of
our regulars who comes in once a week. He's
like, " I'm so glad to be sitting back at the bar! "
We reminisced about how it used to be prior
to COVID, when the bar was packed.
How about restaurant management and
Dale, the general manager, is a big jolly teddy
bear. Even when he's going through stress for
the restaurant, he still tries to make sure that
the employees are okay and in a good mood.
Every now and then, Dale will provide candy
to lift spirits as well as give us an energy boost
or celebrate a holiday. Our assistant general
manager, Yael, is very upbeat about everything
and you kind of feed off of that energy. As far as
coworkers, we work as a team. Jim Drost, VP
of Operations, has pitched in in the kitchen on
busy nights when needed. That's motivating.
Are there customer favorite cocktails at
The customer favorite cocktail at Shadwell's
would have to be the Raspberry Lemon Drop
martini (vodka, triple sec, simple syrup, sour
mix, and raspberry liqueur, served in a martini
glass with a sugar rim to give it that extra
sweetness), as well as a good Old Fashioned.
Also, a classic Margarita, and any type of Dirty
What's your favorite spirit and favorite
I'm a whiskey girl. My favorite is Crown,
especially the original, and my go-to is Crown
and Ginger. I also like Cosmos. I do a Red
Raspberry Cosmo-the Raspberry Ciroc adds
a little extra sweetness to the traditional Cosmo,
extra pizzazz.
What do you consider the top three bar tools?
Definitely a shaker, because you can't make
half of our cocktails without one. A jigger,
because you want to make sure that you aren't
overpouring, so the flavor of the cocktail is still
right, and you're not overserving. And three
would be probably the strainer, because, like
with a martini, if there's ice in it, it's irritating,
so I want to make sure it's strained.
-Annie Tobey


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