Where Are You From:
Johnson City, TN
Tell us a little about yourself…
Raised in the valley of the great Appalachian Mountains, I grew up a country boy with a taste for big city living. Case in point, when I graduated from Daniel Boone High School (rival to aptly named Davy Crockett High School), I decided to move to Knoxville and attend the University of Tennessee. My first three years I studied theatre. At the beginning of sophomore year, I moved off campus to some apartments off of Papermill Drive. Enduring a grueling job search for part-time work, I came across a little restaurant on Sutherland Avenue that was hiring, but not yet open. I started working this job officially on September 28, 2009. That little restaurant began to flourish after the first year and then took off! I worked as a server, bartender, line cook and caterer. I worked there throughout my college career until my graduation in May, 2013, where shortly thereafter I came to Maryville to open and manage our second location.
I graduated with a BA in Italian Linguistics. Strange right? As odd a transition as it was, changing majors from theatre to linguistics, it made me who I am today. Finally, this backwoods country boy had made his way to the “big city” and learnt him a few languages at the same time. During my first few years at Dead End, I took two leaves of absence. I left the company to pursue a study abroad in Italy for 5 months in spring 2011. I then moved back to Knoxville for a year. The following summer I took another two months leave to stay with some colleagues in Spain whom I had made friends with at college in Italy. For both of my stays abroad, I had the chance to show some of my friends how we barbequed here in the states. For my buddy’s 22nd birthday in Spain I smoked some chicken and pork and made some impromptu seasonings that didn’t turn out half bad! I got to share what being part of the Dead End family is in a country that’s not my own, it was awesome!
In this industry we encounter people from all walks of life and from different locations throughout our country and beyond, customers and employees alike. It has been a tremendous advantage for me to possess and speak Italian and Spanish. I have made rapports with numerous customers and employees who come from places all over.
And who is to thank? Dead End! While I was pursuing my degree in Italian, I decided to take on Spanish as well. Some of our Spanish-speaking employees noticed my attempts to learn and went along with it. Before long I caught on, and now I speak it with ease thanks to the people who saw a young college kid willing to sound like an idiot for a while trying to properly say esta’ listo? I’m forever in their debt.
When you are at work, what is your “go-to” meal?
Grilled Chicken Quesadilla, half spicy bbq, half dead end red for the base sauce. Add extra pico de gallo, a scoop of queso and salsa. I’m also a sucker for mac-attack sliders……
What is your favorite saying that has been posted on the Dead End Sign?
“Roses are red, so is our sauce, have a pork sandwich.”
Share a memorable experience you’ve had during your time at Dead End…
About two years ago, I was having a beer at Dead End’s bar. This couple sat down beside me and began asking the bartender Garret questions about the menu. I noticed their accents and was immediately intrigued (being a linguistics nerd and all….). We helped them find what they wanted to eat. Afterwards, they told me “You know, you, the bartender and the gentleman managing right now all look so familiar. I think we saw you on TV back home!” Back home for them was the Netherlands. They had seen us on a Danish documentary about American dining that was partially filmed in our restaurant a year or so before. That night, Garret, Neal, myself and a few other Dead Enders were working when the segment on BBQ in the film was made. How cool is that?!