Friends With Benefits: Eric Montgomery
Eric Montgomery gets to claim something no one else in the country can claim: He’s the bar manager for Tao Asian Bistro at The Venetian, the most profitable restaurant in the U.S. So, just how does it feel being a part of something so successful?
“It’s amazing to be a part of,” Montgomery says. “Being lucky enough and fortunate enough to have that exposure day in and day out is amazing. I really enjoy it. I can’t say there’s anywhere else I’d rather be.” But it wasn’t all luck for Montgomery, it was hard work, too.
Although he was born in Virginia and raised in Oklahoma, Chicago is where he finished high school, graduated college and began a career in the food and beverage industry. For years, Montgomery has served as both a bartender and bar manager for high-end hotels and restaurants in Chicago. Then about a year ago, he decided to make the move to Las Vegas to join Tao to manage the bar and lounge. He was familiar with the brand from its Chicago outfit. “I knew the name and reputation,” he says. “The amount of volume that we do is unmatched by anything I’ve ever seen or experienced.”
And it’s Montgomery’s job to make sure that Tao retains its well-deserved reputation for having excellent Asian-inspired, modern-with-a-twist, diverse-and-delicious cocktails. It’s the people, too, that continue to make Tao a front-runner in the dining game.
“There are some deep roots that are in Tao that started back in New York. They brought those people from New York here and planted that seed here and it’s been growing,” Montgomery says. “The Tao family—it’s us, it’s the people from New York, L.A., Chicago, Vegas. Anyone who works for Tao is part of the family. We all spend a lot of time grinding and working hard together.”
Bubbles & Berries
A longtime staple—and offered at all of Tao’s locations across the country—the Bubbles & Berries is one of the most popular specialty drinks on the cocktail menu. The “very well-balanced, really well-done cocktail that appeals to a bunch of different palates,” says Montgomery, is a blend of Absolut Elyx vodka, St-Germain elderflower liqueur and muddled strawberries and is topped off with G.H. Mumm rosé.
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