Taylor Misiak: How Not To Be “The Worst” Customer-TEDxWabashCollege #ServerNotServant

By: Patrick Maguire

Book Chapter: Human-to-Human Service

Posted: 6/30/2019

“Difficult customers get in their own way of receiving the best service” is the pervasive theme of Taylor Misiak’s recent TEDx Talk.

I witnessed an extreme example of this a few weeks ago at a local hardware store. After finding what I needed with the help of an employee, I went to the front of the store and there were no cashiers at the checkout area. I waited patiently, scrolling through my phone, when another customer approached the cash register. Within a few moments, he tried to ‘build the coalition’ against the staff by kvetching within earshot of me, “No one working here?!?” and other unintelligible grumblings. I didn’t budge or make eye contact. After a short period, Grouchy Guy walked halfway through the store to the end of an aisle where the employee who helped me was working and yelled, “Hey, can we get some help here?!?”

“Excuse me?” the employee replied.

Grouchy Guy: “There’s nobody at the fucking cash register!”

Worker: “I’m sorry, but that’s no reason to be disrespectful. I’ll be right there.”

Grouchy: “Forget it,” and throws the item he was going to buy down the aisle at the worker.

The employee quickly followed the customer to the door and yelled, “Get out of the store, now!! I won’t tolerate disrespect.” After a tense exchange outside (during which I had to throw my 2 cents in siding with the worker), the customer actually had the nerve to say, “Just let me buy what I came here for.” No dice, the employee banned Grouchy Guy for good. Talk about getting in your own way of receiving service…

Taylor’s TEDx talk deals primarily with less hostile customers and examines the question, “How often are customers unintentionally being ‘The Worst?'”

As a restaurant server, Misiak notes that, “In my job, when I deal with these terrible customers, I’m working around the challenges they create more than I am giving them the good service they deserve.” Such a great point–Bad customers often sabotage their own service experiences.

Some of my favorite quotes from Taylor’s thoughtful talk:

  • “…what is so flawed in ‘The customer is always right’ mentality is it doesn’t acknowledge the possibility that the customer may in fact be naïve or misinformed or unaware of something.”
  • “When we operate with this mentality, we conduct ourselves with a sense of entitlement and a ‘gimme this!’ attitude.”
  • “Sometimes customers aren’t just annoying, but by not staying in their own lane, are making the problem worse for themselves.”
  • “When we’re customers we could stand to operate with a little less entitlement and a little more empathy.”
  • “And on the other side, when we’re the ones working, we could stand to do the same. We can operate with more patience and communication rather than writing someone off and calling them ‘The Worst.'”

I reached out to Taylor and asked if she’d like to add any additional comments for this blog post:

“It means so much to hear a fellow server enjoyed my talk because I totally know that these few topics I address are just the tip of the iceberg! While I could talk for days about terrible customer habits or typical miscommunications, I thought it was important to avoid alienating anyone in the audience. I tried to analyze the more common mistakes that I truly believe are unintentional.

I can also honestly say that working on this talk really pushed me to take a better look at myself when I’m a customer! Not only in restaurants, but other service industries. I’ve tried practicing a little more patience and empathy. And while not always easy, it usually leads to a much more positive experience.”

Amen. Please join the conversation in the comments below, and share this post on all of your social media platforms. Hopefully more humans will heed Taylor’s advice, “We could behave like polite guests rather than kings of the castle.”

Please watch Taylor’s TEDx Talk and share.

Follow Taylor Misiak on Twitter & IG @taylormisiak.

To encourage more blog posts and expedite completion of my book, please click on ‘Support Server Not Servant’ in the blue box on the upper right hand side of this post.

Thank you-Patrick

Permalink | Posted in Human-to-Human Service | 1 Comment »

Extremely Challenging Hospitality Jobs: Shout-out to Boston’s Neptune Oyster Host/Servers

By: Patrick Maguire

Book Chapter: Human-to-Human Service

Posted: 3/23/2019

Challenge to all readers.

The pic below is just a small snapshot of the frenetic, stressful world of the dual role of host/server, Jes, at Neptune Oyster, one of Boston’s best and busiest restaurants on Friday night.

Jes did an awesome job adding new parties to the long wait list, waiting on tables, calling folks (on the phone) when their table was ready, keeping the peace, and providing excellent service and hospitality with a very positive attitude and presence. Game face executed perfectly.

Neptune is a small restaurant that is perpetually busy with only a tiny waiting area by the door. The host/server role is extremely demanding, requiring confidence, hustle, awareness, speed, efficiency, compassion, and firmness.

The challenge of this post is to identify some of the most difficult hospitality jobs you’ve witnessed, and an opportunity to give a shout-out to the workers who execute them.

Cheers to Jess, Jeff, Matt, Johnny, Ann, Haley, and the entire Neptune team celebrating their 15-year anniversary in November. And order the johnnycake

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Backwards Boston Bar/Restaurant Realities

By: Patrick Maguire

Book Chapter: Rules of Engagement

Posted: 3/13/2019

It’s counterintuitive to refuse to call the police when there’s a problem in your restaurant/bar for fear of being cited and penalized. I’ve been there and (not) done that. It’s been the reality in Boston for far too long. It’s a broken ‘system’ that needs to be improved dramatically and fast, for the safety of restaurant staff and customers alike.

Bad restaurant and bar operators should not be treated the same as good, responsible operators.

This post is dedicated to helping the Boston bar and restaurant community, Boston Police, the public, and lawmakers identify specific, common sense solutions and implementing them. Enough talk, let’s ‘fix’ this to the extent we can.

Restaurant/bar owners and staff, please see the end of this post to become part of the solution.

This article by Danny McDonald in the Boston Globe on 3/13/19 outlines the problem and why it has come to the forefront in Boston:

After two women were abducted from Boston nightspots, one of whom was found dead days later in Delaware, more than 200 people packed a South Boston union hall Tuesday afternoon to discuss patron safety.

Police Commissioner William G. Gross invited the owners of bars and clubs and other liquor license holders to the meeting to discuss best practices, safety strategies, and other steps to foster secure environments.

“This is all to send a clear-cut message that enough’s enough,” Gross said following the meeting, which was closed to the news media. “There are predators out there. There are hunters out there.”

As a step toward improving safety, business owners, law enforcement, and licensing authorities will form a working group to continue public safety discussions, Gross said.

The meeting came one day after Louis D. Coleman III of Providence was arraigned on a kidnapping charge in US District Court in Boston.

Coleman, 32, allegedly abducted Jassy Correia, 23, after she left the Venu nightclub in the Theatre District early on Feb. 24.

Four days later, her body was found in a suitcase in the trunk of a car that police had pulled over on Interstate 95 in Wilmington, Del.

Correia died a little more than a month after another 23-year-old woman had vanished after leaving Hennessy’s, a bar near Faneuil Hall, on Jan. 19. She was allegedly held captive for three days in a Charlestown apartment by Victor Pena, 38.

Police made a dramatic rescue of the woman, whose name is being withheld because she’s an alleged victim of sexual assault.

Pena faces charges that include kidnapping and three counts of aggravated rape.

On Tuesday, Gross referenced both cases.

“Too many tragedies have occurred,” he said.

During the meeting, proprietors wanted to know if their establishments could be cited if they reported an incident or suspicious behavior, Gross said.

The discussion turned to the city establishing a “better means of documenting when someone has cooperated with us,” he said.

“That’s only fair,” he added.

In years past, bars in Boston have faced punitive action if they contact police about a problem, said City Councilor Michael Flaherty, who attended Tuesday’s meeting.

That had a chilling effect on establishments calling 911, because a police response would be likely to trigger a license violation. Being cited for a violation would mean that the owner would have to attend a hearing and hire an attorney, Flaherty said.

Flaherty said it would be a “new day” in the city if establishments can contact the authorities without fear of punishment.
“It was very refreshing to hear the police commissioner renew a partnership with bar, restaurant, and nightclub owners,” Flaherty said. “This, hopefully, is going to result in a better and safer experience for patrons and establishment owners alike.”

Gross mentioned that there are people who hang out outside of clubs at closing time and don’t go into the establishments. “We want to send a message to folks that do that: We’re watching you,” Gross said. “All of us.”
He also stressed the importance of video surveillance systems and driver’s license scanners. In the two recent attacks on young women. video footage was instrumental in the investigations, he said.

“We’re talking about saving lives,” Gross said.

Attendance at the meeting was voluntary for restaurant, bar, and club owners, police said. Personnel from the Boston Police Department, State Police, MBTA Transit Police, and the city’s Licensing Board attended, Gross said.
After the meeting, Jeff Goldenberg, general manager of the House of Blues, stressed the importance of timely information-sharing.

“It’s a time for all of us to come together,” he said after the meeting.

“It takes a village. The safety of not just our guests, but also of our staff, is important to all of us.”

This post and your comments below will be forwarded to the ‘working group’ being formed to continue the conversation. The comments below are open to everyone, subject to moderation. If you prefer, email your comments to me at Patrick@servernotservant.com and I will forward them to the group.

Restaurant/bar owners and workers:

  1.  Name or do you prefer to remain anonymous?
  2.  How many years of experience do you have in the Boston bar/restaurant industry?
  3.  What positions have you held and/or what is your current job?
  4.  From your perspective, what are the problems? (Specific stories encouraged.)
  5.  What are your specific recommendations for improvement?
  6.  Feel free to add anything you’d like to add perspective and value to this discussion.

Thank you.

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Cloud over Boston Super Bowl Victory Parade: Restaurants Cited for Patio Violations at Peak of Celebration

By: Patrick Maguire

Book Chapter: Rules of Engagement

Posted: 2/7/2019

Thanks to Nicole Maffeo Russo for bringing this to my attention. Tuesday, 2/5/19 was the ‘perfect storm’ in the best way possible in Boston–Super Bowl parade, 65-degree, sunny celebration. A far cry from the recent, single-digit, ‘polar vortex’ days… As the energy was building along Boylston Street, some restaurants took a chance and dragged their patio furniture out of storage for the day to accommodate more patrons and capture more business during the celebration… But no, shortly before the duck boats passed, BPD came by and shut down 4 restaurant patios, immediately, and issued them citations that could include fines and have a significant, adverse impact on their liquor licenses moving forward.

In my opinion, common sense should have prevailed, and the police (and the city) should have left the restaurants alone. We are in the middle of one of the slowest stretches on the calendar for restaurants. Mayor Walsh & Co. should have relaxed the rules and let them enjoy a little spontaneous shot in the arm to offset the slow period and the days they’re forced to close during blizzards, etc. As Boston food writer, Marc Hurwitz and others pointed out, if the police can make an exception for Gronk to drink a $500 bottle of wine, and other Patriots, family, and friends to drink beers and everything else on the duck boats, why not make an exception for small business owners? There are liability concerns in both instances. I’m not certain if issuing a warning and allowing the restaurants to continue patio service was an option. Some folks have said the restaurants should have applied for a special, 1-day permit. Easier said than done. Special permits take 30+ days, are often denied, and would have required predicting the Patriots win the Super Bowl, the exact day of the parade, and 65-degree, sunny weather.

So you want to cover the liability? If ‘we’ (City of Boston) don’t have the technology, sophistication, and capability to quickly issue 1-day permits to existing patio licensees in the database when lightning strikes on days like yesterday, stop calling Boston ‘World-Class.’ It will be interesting to see how Mayor Marty Walsh and City Hall responds. They better not enforce the fines and jeopardize the restaurant liquor licenses in question. Lastly, you can’t have it both ways. You can’t make exceptions to the rules and issue special, seasonal permits to breweries in substations and along the Greenway and The Charles, then put the hammer down and shut down entrepreneurial folks trying to hustle a buck on days like Tuesday.

After reading my Facebook post above, a veteran, Boston restaurant owner contacted me with the following questions and comments:

1. What difference does it make if the patio is open one day in February versus every day for the whole summer? Same game plan. Same script. If it’s ok April – October why not year round ?

2. Who told the licensing cops to go out and write tickets for this? The district captain? What were you hoping to gain? What public safety issues could you cite for that day if it’s ok the other 9 months a year with zero problems?

3. You had nothing else to worry about that day? This is the BPD’s priority on parade day? You should have cuffed Gronk and everyone on the duck boats for public drinking then if we are gonna be Boy Scouts on this wonderful and happy day.

4. Verbal warnings and telling them to shut it down wouldn’t have sufficed? You could have done that.

The restaurant owners all will have a hearing at the licensing board. They’ll have to bring their attorneys, maybe get a suspension or rollback of hours or worst case, strip the patio license from the licensee causing financial hardship.  Not cool. Also, most of these patios are on private property leased from their landlords, not the city. That’s at least a $1,500-$2,000 haircut for having the patio open in a 65-degree day. How is that supporting small, locally-owned businesses? It’s reprehensible actually. My guess is the licensing division of BPD was working OT that day as they usually only work nights. They need to write tickets to justify the OT. This is the likely scenario. Regular cops don’t write tickets like these unless a problem or they are told to.

A partner of one of the restaurants cited was quoted in the Boston Herald on 2/5/19;

“Restaurants need help, and today was a blessing — great weather and the Pats parade on the same day, and then they show up,” Jo Megwa, a partner in charge of Ora Trattorizza, told the Herald shortly after officers gave her restaurant a violation.

Megwa said she knows the cops are just doing their jobs, but is upset that what she says is an otherwise spotless record is now marred by a violation. She said the restaurant has a permit for a 60-seat patio, tucked away from the sidewalk behind large planters. The permit runs from April 1 to Oct. 31 — so she had all the seats full during the Red Sox parade in October.

“It was four tables,” Megwa said of what she put out on Tuesday. Megwa noted the wide-scale public and underage drinking that permeated the parade, and said she’d watched people jump up and down on an awning of the nearby Copley Green Line stop. “Isn’t that more pressing?”

Restaurants that are issued violations have to appear for a hearing before the city’s license board, which decides on whether there should be repercussions. The punishment, depending on the severity of a violation and a restaurant’s history of trouble, can range from a simple warning to a suspension or removal of the license.

When told of the enforcement, Massachusetts Restaurant Association’s Bob Luz gave an exasperated, “Oh, come on.”
“It’s a really tough time of year for restaurants,” Luz told the Herald. “A little leniency would have been a reasonable approach.”

Kim Tunnicliffe, a reporter at WBZ Radio tweeted on Feb 6th:

Boston.com 2/7/19:  Nicole Maffeo Russo, who was at Ora (restaurant) during the parade and also serves as the restaurant’s publicist, said she hopes the regulations can be loosened for celebrations like the parade.

“It’s the dead of winter. We don’t have many great days for restaurants,” Maffeo Russo told the Globe. “It’s really disappointing that the city didn’t give the businesses a pass for days like this.”

What do you say, Mayor Marty Walsh? How about wiping the slate clean, rescind the violations, and let’s work on making exceptions on short notice the next time we catch lightning in a bottle?!?

Twitter: @marty_walsh          Email: Mayor@Boston.Gov.

#GoPatriots #GoSox #GoBruins #GoCeltics


I contacted the other 4 restaurants cited for violations and invited their comments. I will update this post if any of them respond. Thank you.

2/25/19 update: Thanks to Nicole Maffeo Russo for the updates below and for spearheading the initiative to prevent a similar episode in the future. Nicole attended 2 separate meetings, one with Natalia Urtubey, City of Boston Director of Small Business & Executive Director of Imagine Boston 2030, and a second with Boston City Councilor, Josh Zakim. Statement from Nicole, “The city has been very responsive and has heard us. They are in the process of developing a solution to ensure that this doesn’t happen again.”


#1- Josh Zakim met with the Boston Liquor Licensing Board and confirmed that all of the restaurants cited for patio violations had their hearings cancelled and that no one would be facing any penalties or fines for any infractions cited on parade day. [I confirmed this by phone with the Boston Licensing Board. A representative stated that they want to be “business friendly and helpful.” The bar cited for being over capacity and operating unapproved flat screen TV’s is a separate issue and may still have a hearing…]

#2- Josh noted that current Boston restaurant patio license holders will be able to extend their licenses to year-round for no additional fees. [I will post an update here when I see an official announcement.]

#3- Natalia Urtubey noted that they are working on a solution to allow restaurants with existing patio licenses a 1-day online permit during citywide sanctioned events that can be printed immediately and hung in their windows. [This would be moot for restaurants that extended their licenses to year-round…]

#4- If there are specific ways that the public can support the restaurants or proposed legislation, I will post them here. Please share any related, confirmed updates you see in the comments. Thank you

3/10/19 Update: 

Not so fast.

I emailed the Licensing Board for the City of Boston for a statement and/or an official announcement. Lesley Delaney Hawkins, Esq., Executive Secretary to the Licensing Board replied with the following:

“As you are aware the sale and service of alcoholic beverages in Massachusetts is highly regulated at local, state, and federal levels.

The Board does not currently have online permitting abilities nor do we expect those to get up and going any time soon. The Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission, which reviews applications for new licenses and permanent amendments to existing licenses subsequent to the Board’s approval, requires paper applications. The Licensing Board has an existing process in place for any Licensee that wishes to apply for a One Day Amendment to an Existing License. As I mentioned in my previous email, this application is already (and always has been) accessible on our website. It’s a simple process that includes filling out a one page form which can be submitted via email, fax, or in person. While we would ideally like two weeks notice to process such requests (as the one page application indicates) we routinely grant them on very short notice as it does not require a hearing but does require two of the three Board members to sign off on it.

We are not contemplating a change to this process nor do we anticipate allowing a Licensee to simply print off a One Day Amendment and put in their window. The Board grants and regulates these licenses and serves an important function in the City of Boston in making sure our restaurants and entertainment establishments are regulated and in compliance with the law.

Our office plans to sit down with Natalia and her staff soon to talk about ways we can continue to improve this process.

Separately, the assertion that the Board is allowing all Licensees to extend their patios to year round is inaccurate. Any change to the months of a patio would constitute a change of a condition on the license which pursuant to Massachusetts General Law requires a legal notice, abutter notification, and hearing before the Board. Further, if the patio is located on public property it would also require approval of the Public Improvement Commission of an amendment to the Licensee’s agreement to lease the property from the City. While the annual license fee issued by this Board would not change should the Board grant an annual patio, the amount paid to the Department of Public Works to lease the property would increase dependent on the specific request. Further, any amendment to a license is evaluated by the Board on the specific circumstances including the nature of the request and public need. Given the foregoing, the Board cannot simply allow for a blanket extension of patios from seasonal to annual. The Board works closely with its Licensees who are seeking to amend their licenses to help them follow the correct process.

I hope that this correspondence provides the clarity you are seeking.”

Permalink | Posted in Rules of Engagement | 3 Comments »

A Legacy of Kindness, Humility, Grace, Gratitude, Mad Talent, & Love. Boston Celebrates the Life of Widely-Loved Bartender, Tenzin Konchok Samdo

By: Patrick Maguire

Book Chapter: Human-to-Human Service

Posted: 2/1/2019

Tenzin Konchok Samdo

March 17, 1978 – January 27, 2019

It is extremely rare to meet someone with the radiant spirit and kind soul of Tenzin Samdo. He was a force, one of nicest people I’ve ever met, in and outside of the restaurant/bar community. His infectious warmth and genuine hospitality surpassed his amazing ‘bar scientist’ skills. Tenzin was a unique inspiration, ‘good people’ to the core.

This compilation of reflections and tributes commemorates the love, respect, and appreciation that so many of us have for Tenzin so that Mila, Tenzin’s son, and his family will always have a sense of how many lives Tenzin touched and the love that will endure forever.

Aside from observing the mutual love Tenzin and Mila had for each other, one of my personal favorite memories of Tenzin was feeling his fierce pride defending his team and advocating for his industry brothers and sisters after a BU professor berated them on Yelp. From my conversation with Tenzin in November 2017:

…the 17+ year industry veteran was adamant about protecting his co-workers and restaurant industry colleagues, and sending a clear, strong message to customers that abuse of service industry workers, or anyone, is not ok. Tenzin: “This isn’t about me. I’ve taken a lot worse abuse over the years. I can take it. I was more upset that my co-worker was being insulted. I think it’s important to stand up and protect our own people and our industry brothers and sisters–to raise awareness and let people know that Yelp threats, and unacceptable, abusive behavior will not be tolerated. I just want it to stop.” 

Tenzin was a gentle, loving soul, and I love the fact that he stepped up, and spoke up for his extended restaurant family.

@squirrelsofmischief: Tenzin has always represented the very best aspects of our industry. His kindness and genuine interest in hospitality was always truly unrivaled. His ability to focus and highlight minor details without losing sight of the big picture will forever be inspiring. He used his powers for good. He used his reach to unite people. He put a spotlight on things in our world that aren’t awesome, and offered up solutions instead of dwelling on what is. His range of focus was astounding. An eye on the past. An eye on the future. Fully present in the moment. A real life super hero if I’ve ever met one. He set a bar, not just for service but for how people should treat each other. Be humble. Be kind. Give thanks. Lift people up when you can. Seek knowledge. Chase ideas. Hustle! Be like Tenzin. Thank you @bostonmixdrink. #teamtenzin for always.

@cafeartscience: One of the most inspiring, innovative, and caring artists in the beverage industry, our beloved Tenzin Samdo passed away yesterday with his family and friends by his side. The impact that Tenzin had not only on the bar scene in his adopted hometown of Boston, but worldwide via his impressive following is beyond compare. He gave his passion for helping others and advocating for a better world to all that he did, from creating a cocktail list inspired by endangered species to bring awareness to climate change, to fostering communities in every space he inhabited, to lending support whenever needed, to most importantly, raising his son, Mila, who recently turned eight. A Tibetan refugee who grew up in northern India, Tenzin embraced his culture by embodying the Tibetan motto, “be kind,” which is evident to all those lucky enough to have come in contact with him over his short, but impactful career. The @cafeartscience family will always remember Tenzin’s lasting contributions to the bar program, his appreciation of art and beauty, and his kind spirit. Most importantly, Tenzin believed in family-first and his family appreciates all of the good thoughts and well wishes…

@chef.carolina: Kind of at a loss for words, from my very broken heart. But I know you would tell me to “keep pushing darling.” To never let anything get in my way. To practice patience and positivity without exception and only let good vibes in. I watched you constantly push the limits. So I followed along. I admire you, I’ve always believed in you and you’ve ALWAYS believed in me no matter what. Thank you, Tenzino! for being my incredibly loving friend unconditionally, industry family, and a giant inspiration and influence in my life and career. You’re truly the real deal. I love you forever! #teamtenzin #restinparidise

Café ArtScience: In less than two decades, Tenzin has built a career as one of the most talented bartenders in the country, marrying a unique sense of aesthetics and cocktail storytelling with a spirit of kindness and generosity. His kind heart, positive attitude, and incredible ability to foster community are evident in those who have volunteered to lend their support.

@jdstone27: On Friday, March 28, 2014, I spent the early afternoon with this wonderful man at Trade taking pictures of him and his drinks for my column at BostonChefs. He was one of my first subjects and if you knew him, you know why. I was an amateur journalist, he was a generous and interesting person. That’s a good recipe for writing. We’d been acquaintances, then friends through our work in the neighborhood. We shared a mutual interest in Buddhism and had friends in common outside of the industry.

One night, years ago, I’m out alone at Drink, with probably no real spending money. These were lean, tough times. I asked for my check and the bartender said to me, “Tenzin took care of your check, Justin.” In all of my years as a customer, that had never happened to me. Sure, people buy rounds, managers comp checks, but this was a silent and humble gesture of generosity that I’d never known. I was stunned, and went looking for him. He was gone. I’ve never forgotten this.

On June 21, 2018 I was in Rhode Island for work and reached out to him to apologize for not coming by to see him at Café ArtScience. This was his message, our final words. “It’s our consequences of growing up. I’m very happy for you, brother. Seems like you got the perfect job. You deserve everything you earn. We’ll come across our path very soon. You are awesome.” It was never about him, the light was always projected outward, all day, all night.

I’ll miss him. We will all miss him. Please make a donation if you haven’t yet.

@privateerrum: Every detail @bostonmixdrink put into his work would touch your heart and make you feel honored, from the simplest expression to an ornate masterpiece. His drinks were art made personally for each guest, temporary, and to be experienced through every sense. The Hut on Mitchell Road, he named for the street that leads you to our distillery. Most who drank it might never know this but for those he served who did come to visit and noticed this detail they would get an ah-ha moment that his drink would deliver days, even weeks and months later to that guest. It was a delight to see them piece this together. Every bit of his work was thoughtful.

Rachel Leah Blumenthal: We followed you from bar to bar because of your talent, creativity, and humor, but most importantly, your kindness. I will never forget the many late nights I spent at Artscience inhaling clouds of strawberry negroni vapors or trying your incredible animal-inspired cocktails or getting chased around by a drink-serving robot. Any night that Joel and I found ourselves remotely close to Kendall Square before midnight, we had to pay you a visit; any time we had friends in from out of town, we knew we had to bring them to meet you. Thanks for being amazing, Tenzin Conechok Samdo.

@whiskeyface80: This fucking hurts. I miss your smile, your excitement when one of us reps walked in….We didn’t go in to sell, we went in to learn.. I love you T. And tonight (at Café ArtScience) was an example of how loved and cherished you are in our community. You’re a legend, a friend , an example for us all. Love one another…. ❤️

Ran Duan: In the Chinese culture we burn money to send off to the after life…it’s a somber celebration as I raise a glass to Tenzin…health is something we can take for granted. No matter how rich, how happy or how successful you are, in a blink of a eye it can all disappear. In an industry that is based on gluttony and over imbibing we forget to take care of ourselves. This is a wake up call…in the final weeks before Tenzin passed he kept mentioning to me to take care of myself. Enjoy the moments and stop worrying about the future. To take time off to celebrate life and spend with family. Tenzin was a spark in our bar community ,a rising star who wasn’t even at his peak and passed way before his time.  I ask all of you to honor Tenzin by taking care of yourself as health is an expiring commodity and without proper maintenance in a blink of a eye it can disappear.

@jacki_mo: Heartbroken over the loss of such a great friend and true force in this world. Tenzin, you defined what it means to surprise and delight. Always generous, warm, creative, caring, and so much fun. Taken too soon. His smile lives forever in my heart. #teamtenzin

Robin Robinson: For those of you who didn’t know Tenzin Conechok Samdo, you missed a brilliantly wonderful human being, kind, thoughtful and a joy to be around. Nick Korn introduced me to him on a trip to Boston and here’s what he created while we sat there. So on top of his humanity, he was a true craftsman with a fun outlook on life. One of the more joyful experiences I’ve had at a bar.

DJ Ryan Brown: One of the kindest and wisest souls our Boston and Global Hospitality Industry has ever seen, Tenzin Samdo aka @bostonmixdrink , has transitioned onward after a fight with cancer. Your intelligence was transcendent, your love was radiant, and your heart was seemingly forever full and open. I’m not gonna talk about your award winning cocktails but you were a true artist full of compassion and empathy and creativity at every turn of the road. That – to many, including myself – seems like an impossible and unattainable way of life, if not at very least because of our own personal struggles. You studied and you worked and you built it and and you lived it. I will cherish our memories working together (motherfucker chose EPMD – “Strictly Business” for one of his walk up and fight songs for a cocktail competition I DJ’d), healing together, growing together and the times we were able to break bread together. I will reflect deeply in your honor.

To the sweetest man:
May the wind always be at your back and the sun upon your face. And may the wings of destiny carry you aloft to dance with the stars.

@km0436: I’m incredibly saddened by the passing of my friend, Tenzin yesterday. He welcomed everyone who came to his bar as if they were his personal friend that he hadn’t seen in forever. It’s a feeling that can only be described by the people who knew him. The first time I met him he greeted me like an old friend (even after I ordered a caipirinha while he was in the weeds) and made me feel welcome. On my birthday, several months later, he brought me a caipirinha in a foot long martini glass with candles burning. He remembered. He always remembered. And we will always remember him.

@blacktending: “I’m a bartender—making drinks is what I do for a living, why not send a message through it?” – @bostonmixdrink. The single most inspiring experience I had as a bartender in 2018 was at Tenzin’s bar, @cafeartscience, full stop. His team was warm and inviting, he was humble and gracious as a host, the drinks didn’t feel forced, and the technology utilized was more than just a kitschy sideshow that distracted from the lack of hospitality in the room, and it was cheeky (I mean a taco scented margarita…).

I’m grateful to have experienced the man in his glory, feel honoured to have stood behind his bar (the cleanest I’ve been behind, ever.) and happy I spent an hour I could have caught up on sleep listening to him lecture on futuristic tequila tiki cocktails with @mixecutive.

If you’re unsure of why I’m posting this google search “Tenzin Samdo,” look beyond this week’s posts and note how we lost an inspiring human being who used his platform and voice to educate and be an instrument of change.
The world would be a better place with more Tenzin’s, right now it would be a better place with just one.

Unite and spread the word! Please help us support a beloved friend, colleague, and father by sharing your personal stories of Tenzin’s hospitality and the art of the cocktail that he so passionately adored. We are doing what little we can to make sure that his fostering of community continues, and to treat him as he has treated so many of us over the years, with fierce loyalty and unwavering generosity.

Pramy Yadav: “My religion is simple. My religion is kindness”- The simple words of the Dalai Lama were the complete embodiment of the life of my dear friend, Tenzin Samdo. I first met him while organizing a charity event, and I was struck by his enthusiasm and willingness to help. He created such special recipes incorporating the spices of India, and his knowledge and understanding of chemistry was so unique. His ability to make you feel utterly tranquil in his presence was special. His smile overtook the room. And his love for his son, Mila was everything. He was truly a beautiful soul and I will miss him greatly.

Corina Haley Miller: Tenzin Conechok Samdo was a wonderful human with a heart of gold. He made all those he encountered feel special. He loved his craft, and was an excellent father to precious Mila. His talent and his love will be greatly missed by many. Wishing you peace if you knew Tenzin.
Hoping for a bright future for Mila. And sending prayers to the family and those closest to him in his final days.
We all love you brother!! You have inspired many. This earth will not be the same without your joy and light. Blessings be with you. Xoxo

Chad Fox: We lost one of the finest humans I have ever known. Tenzin Conechok Samdo was such an amazing soul, everywhere he went and everyone he saw was touched by this wonderful, kind, smart, caring man. Tenzin you were a great friend and a force in this industry, you will be greatly missed and always loved. Rest in power brother.

Sanjeev Yadav: Tonight at Cafe ArtScience, we celebrate the life of Tenzin Conechok Samdo, @BostonmixDrink a remarkable gentleman, a kindhearted soul, and a dreamer who was living his very own dreams, while spreading love, thoughtful advice and wisdom all the while with a big smile on his face……that was Tenzin Conechok Samdo!! Rarely do such people cross paths in our lives and we can only feel the blessings and privilege of knowing such a person as Tenzin. For all the success, hard work and dedication that he put forth to achieve his own dreams, his greatest passion and most important achievement, was his sweet and gentle son Mila….he was his world and Tenzin devoted his life to him! Tonight, we gather at Cafe ArtScience, where his artistry and creativity came to life and where he was able to also share his wisdom and always lend a kind ear.. Though he has left us all to soon, his memory, his wisdom and his life will forever serve as a reminder that the kindness and love that we put out into this world can make a tremendous impact…..Mother Theresa once said, “There are no great things, only small things with great love. Happy are those.” Tenzin’s life was about spreading love and kindness one person and one drink at a time….so please let us support his family and his son during this difficult time ahead and more specifically allow his son to have the educational opportunity to pursue his dreams!

Susan McGrale Casale: Tenzin will always be one of my brother Ryan’s best friends. He has been so good to our family since Ryan’s passing-Please join me in supporting this beautiful human-if there was ever a time when you would give to a stranger it is now💕

Food & Wine: Boston Mourns Loss of Legendary Bartender Tenzin Samdo

Boston Magazine: Boston Restaurant Community Honors Late Bartender Tenzin Samdo

GoFundMe: His professional recognitions include Boston Magazine’s “Bartender of the Year” for 2018; Thrillist’s, Zagat’s, and Eater’s top Boston bartender awards; Nightclub & Bar’s June 2015 Bartender of the Month; and reaching the final 10 at Punch King’s Competition at COCHON 555.Most meaningful to Tenzin, however, was a small interview on “Voice of America” translated into Tibetan and broadcast to his father’s community – a true testament to his belief in the importance of family.

The impact that Tenzin has had not only on the bar scene in his adopted hometown of Boston, but worldwide via his impressive following is beyond compare. He has continuously poured his passion for helping others and advocating for a better world into all that he does. In Tenzin’s own words, “By consuming the cocktail, you’re destroying the art, but you’re left with the memory. It’s a reminder that life isn’t permanent, but it can be beautiful.”

In a beautiful celebration of Tenzin’s life at Café ArtScience, that felt like an industry homecoming, Dhondup Phunkhang read the following statement from Tenzin’s younger brother, Tenzin Jampa Samdo:

Friends, loved ones and family –

It is an honour and privilege to pay tribute today to my older brother.

Tenzin Konchok Samdo was remarkable in so many ways. He lived his life to the fullest and touched so many people during his short time here with us. We all have special memories of him that we will carry with us – memories we will always hold dear.

Allow me to share some of the special memories that I have of my brother – memories that personify him and his life well lived.

Kunchok was truly devoted to his craft, but most importantly to his colleagues in the service industry. He called them his family and he really meant it by showering them with love, kindness and support in any way he could. Grateful for his position within this family, he always helped make it easy for the newcomers to join.     He was warm and welcoming to all around him, and he honoured the  guests who came before him.

He loved his son, Mila, fiercely. From the moment Mila was born, they were  a team. Kunchok’s devotion to him was limitless. 
During the last few difficult months, Kunchok didn’t respond much to anyone when they would talk about his health and wellness. He just smiled, nodded and kept to himself mostly.

However, when anyone brought up his work, he would so brilliantly light up and get this huge jolt of energy and be ready to discuss the art at length – he was so animated you’d think he was perfectly fine.

He so loved what he did and made you feel the passion he had for it.

Thank you to everyone for coming here and thank you to all his colleagues at Cafe Art Science for this incredible gathering. We all know – it meant the world to him that this was happening – both for him and for Mila.

And, as you will all likely know, because Kunchok told the story of Tibet  whenever and wherever he could, he came from a proud lineage – from a  people who have been oppressed and exiled from their own country.  

Kunchok knew – we didn’t come here to stay. We came to one day return to  our land.  

At this time, we are gathered here to help guide his spirit back to the land of  his mother, father, and his ancestors – back home to Tibet.    Thank you.

@justin42arch: Something pretty remarkable happened last night, 1/30/19 at Café ArtScience. Something that will stay with me my whole life. Last night we celebrated the life of a truly amazing human being who left our world, and his wife and young son way too early. The celebration raised money for Mila’s education fund. When I got to @cafeartscience an hour after the event opened, they were already at standing capacity and we had to hang out (with 100+ others) next door (for an hour and a half) at @lelabcambridge until people left). I wouldnt be surprised if 1,000 people total came out for this celebration. 

And as I looked around waiting, I saw people smiling. People hugging. Former coworkers reuniting. IG connections meeting in person for the first time. Young people, old people (me), whites and minorities, famous chefs and college students, people in suits and people in sweats, lovers and ex’s, straight and LGBTQ. I SAW LOVE. No hate. No strife. Just pure KINDNESS.

Tenzin did a lot for our Boston/Cambridge community, the restaurant and bartending industry, for awareness of extinct animals, for pushing mixology into art and technology, for being environmentally responsible, for his family. And now, after life, he continues to make this world a better place for us and our children.

Thank you to all that came. Thank you to all that donated and continue to donate. Thank you to those that organized and volunteered. And thank you TENZIN for making us all and our planet better. 🙏

@bigmike2047: The celebration of Tenzin’s life at Café ArtScience was an all-encompassing room full of respect, love and support. “In the end only three things matter: how much you loved, how gently you lived, and how gracefully you let go of things not meant for you.”

@tiffanifaison: I keep coming back to kindness-true kindness. Aside from being a ridiculously talented leader in our industry, he was kind. It’s easy to find platitudes of it in our industry, but often difficult to find the real deal. Tenzin was an ambassador of true kindness- and therefore hospitality. His example shines bright, let’s follow that star.

Please feel free to add your tribute to Tenzin in the comments. Thank you.

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