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April 16, 2018

The Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington (RAMW) presents Julio Amador, Assistant General Manager of Cork Wine Bar & Market. He is nominated for the Manager of the Year award for the 2018 RAMMY Awards Gala on June 10. The Manager of the Year award goes to a non-owner manager or general manager in the food service industry who displays the highest level of professionalism and leadership. This person must be an inspiration and mentor to all his/her co-workers displaying outstanding service, an excellent work ethic and a positive image.​

Name // Title // Bio Julio Amador is the Assistant General Manager at Cork Wine Bar, an establishment he has worked at for over 10 years. He started at Cork just a couple of months after they opened. He has proved his loyalty and work ethic by starting as a busser at Cork and working his way up to barback, server, bartender, bar manager and Assistant General Manager. His favorite things to drink are wine, tequila, and mezcal. In his downtime, he loves hiking with his dog, Rambo, off-road biking, and traveling.

What is the hardest part about being the GM of a restaurant? The hardest part is making sure that every staff member is contributing to the guests' experience in a positive way, ensuring that all guests get the full Cork Wine Bar experience and leave having enjoyed their time at Cork. You have to be able to trust your staff!

…and the most rewarding part? The most rewarding part is when a guest tells you or a staff member how much they are enjoying drinking and eating at your establishment and that they are definitely going to return! This type of feedback just tells me that I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing.

How are you influenced by the neighborhood you are located in? I am very influenced by Logan Circle, and the Northwest region in general. I’ve lived for the past 12 years either in Shaw or Columbia Heights and so I feel like this is my neighborhood as well. It’s been great to see other bars and restaurants open and for the community to really flourish. I don’t have a night go by without having someone I know from the neighborhood walk by or come into Cork. It really creates a big sense of community and family. There are some people who come to Cork once or twice a year, but I make sure they know that they’re part of that community as well.

How did you get started in the business? What was your first job in the industry and what did you learn from it? My first job in the business was as a busser at a restaurant in Logan Circle back in 2006. I actually went to the restaurant 3 times asking for the opportunity before they finally gave me the chance. Once employed there, I learned how to work hard, but most importantly, I learned how to work efficiently. When you have lots of people demanding a variety of different things, you have to figure out how to respond to their needs in the most efficient way possible, so you get things done on time and so the customers leave happy.

Where do you see yourself in five years? I see myself either managing a higher-volume restaurant or hopefully doing my own project.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given? The best piece of advice I’ve been given is that every guest should always receive the same high-quality service and experience, no matter who it is or whether it is the beginning or end of your shift.

What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? I’ve never worked back-of-the-house before, but it’s never too late to try it!

What is your favorite ingredient? Onions - any color, any way.

What insider foodie tip do you have for diners? Treat your server the same way you like to be treated by them. A little respect and patience can go a long way in this industry!

You’re hosting a dream dinner party.  What three people would be at your table? Barack Obama, Denzel Washington, and Scarlett Johansson.

It’s the last meal of your life  - what’s on your plate? Tacos!

What are your pet peeves? One of my pet peeves is when the staff forget to clock out at the end of the shift, and I have to go back and fix all the time entries!

What is your favorite way to give back to the community? I love to make people feel like Cork is their second home. Some ways we help to build that community here is through wine tastings, wine club, and tasting groups.

Why do you love working in restaurants? When I was growing up, my parents owned and operated a clothing store, and ever since I was a young kid, I learned how to be a salesman at the store. My parents taught me the value of great customer service - it’s vital for a business and their staff to make money, succeed, and build a strong reputation. I try to integrate what they taught me into my work every day. Working in restaurants lets me provide that high-quality customer service to everyone who visits.​