At Your Service: Mariana Popescu, Sommelier, Bartolotta's Lake Park Bistro

March 05, 2019

When did you start working at The Bartolotta Restaurants? I just had my 10th anniversary with Lake Park Bistro and I cannot believe how fast the time has passed.

What is the most challenging part of your job? I do sometimes struggle with finding the best way to translate to our guests all the effort that goes behind the planning of a wine and food dinner, wine list, tastings and research. I always hope that the end result will be enough to show our team’s passion for creating seamless experiences in our restaurant.

What advice do you have for people starting in the industry? I was very lucky to have people around that empowered me and trusted me to show what I’ve learned. My advice would be to use every opportunity given to learn and always express your interest in taking on a new task. Make sure you do your research and know what you place in front of the guest every time.

What is your favorite part of the job? My favorite part of the job are the human stories, the people that we see every time they step in our restaurant, sharing the special moments with them, and genuinely talking to them about food and wine and then seeing them return and bring their friends. I love when both the guests and my coworkers feel inspired by a bottle of wine that we talked about and find a new favorite to enjoy at our table or at home with loved ones.

What is your favorite bottle of wine right now? This winter I’ve been craving merlot and cabernet franc from Saint Emilion. Also, I got the chance to try some very special shiraz from South Australia, and this one bottle from Henschke blew my mind. Let’s not forget Champagne - have not found one I don’t love.

What do you like to do when not working? When I am not working, I like to work. I feel that being productive brings me joy. If I would have more time I would spend it reading. I like American westerns and biographies, and Irving Stone is my favorite author.