Shift Drinks is a Knack Factory photo series that features some of our favorite folks in food and hospitality telling us stories about their preferred cocktails and how they got into the industry. Featured in the photos are chefs, servers, proprietors and other industry professionals as well as the construction of their drinks of choice. The beverages were prepared with love by master bartender John R. Myers.
Along with her husband Josh Potocki, Katie Schier Potocki owns 158 Picket Street Cafe and Southside Bakery. She is also a caterer and one of the co-creators of the infamous POCKET BRUNCH series. She is pictured with Buffalo Trace neat and a PBR chaser.
Why is this your drink?
It is easy, efficient and it gets the job done. [Laughter]
How long have you been in the food and hospitality business?
My first job in the industry was probably when I was about 13. I was dish-washing for a catering co… You know what? It was when I was 11 and working on a frozen yogurt truck that used to go to all the gay pride festivals all over. It used to go down to Boston and Providence and I just thought it was all these really happy places. I didn’t realize that it was this movement that was taking place.
Right? “You guys LOVE ice cream!”
And dress so amazingly! It wasn’t until years later that I realized that I was at all of the premier gay pride festivals in all of New England. But then I started really being a waitress in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire. It was at this place where it started with ice cream and every year you got to graduate to a new element of service. You started helping scoop ice cream, then you scooped ice cream, then you bussed and then served breakfast and then lunch and then maybe finally you got to serve dinner. I did that every Summer until senior year of high school. There were peanut butter and bacon sandwiches and cream cheese sandwiches. It was the weirdest place and really amazing. It was like summer camp. We’d get real wasted… Of course I was over 21! [Laughter]
You are welcome to start drinking your beverage.
Oh, thank God. I was wondering how much longer you were going to make me keep looking at this.
What about waiting tables made you want to stick with it beyond high school?
I am good at it. [Laughter] It is something that I know I can do and it is always a challenge. Everyone is different and they way you win each person over is always totally different for every different person. And the money. Let’s be honest. It was easy money when it comes down to it. And the shifts. You get to work three days and you don’t have to work 9-5. I am not a morning person at all so it is the kind of thing that I could do on a later schedule.
Now with the catering company I get to work in different places rather than one place all the time. I get to serve people in really gorgeous venues that I would never myself be able to afford. Weddings are amazing because they are always in the best mood… Well, someone else is footing the bill for everybody so it is easy for everyone to be happy but overall you show up, you set up, you do a crazy job and then you probably never see these people again… until the divorce party. [Laughter]
What have you learned in the time that has passed since the gay pride frozen yogurt truck?
I have learned how to tell people what they want to hear and then how to figure out how to make that thing work out. You just calm people’s nerves going into an event so that they are already in that state of mind by the time that you are doing the job. The number one thing for me is that everyone knows and feels that I know what I am talking about and then I try to live up to that, which usually works out okay. But what I have really learned is that you really just get them drunk when you fuck up.
For more photos of Potocki and her beverage of choice, check out her Shift Drinks interview over at Knack Factory.
PHOTO CREDIT: Zack Bowen / Knack Factory