Here’s the challenge: If there is a bar in Menlo Park that’s more like the Cheers’ “everybody-knows-your-name” bar than Carpaccio, a mainstay on Crane Street, do let us know. And according to bartender Roberto Ocegueda (pictured right) the one drink that spans generations is the Martini.
“Because I said ‘Martini’ I mean gin,” he said on a recent evening. “But Vodka straight up is popular, too.”
Roberto has been at Carpaccio for 16 years; his fellow bartender (when we visited) was Jose Luis Reyes, a veteran of 15 years.
Said long time customer Lynn who was having dinner at the bar with her husband: “I remember when Jose Luis started he couldn’t speak English, but Ciya (owner/manager Ciya Martorana) saw something in him and she was right, as usual.”
We talked to Roberto about popular drinks this holiday season. He said that the restaurant gets a disproportionate number of diners who are not regulars over the holidays. That means, he said, more orders for “foo foo drinks,” aka Cosmos, Lemon Drops, and Pomegranate Martinis, to name a few that come to him top of mind.
But as a Carpaccio bartender, he knows how to please the old guard crowd, who order an Old Fashioned, a Manhattan or a Sidecar, which he fulfills around 10% on any given week. “Martinis cross generations,” said Roberto, “but Mojitos have become increasingly popular.”
When job turnover is great, Carpaccio is known for keeping its staff. “We have good customers and good bosses,” said Roberto. “Everyone is friendly.”
Adds Jose Luis: “Ciya likes honest people. That’s why we’ve been here for awhile.”