For Buffalo Bartender Hall of Famer, Rachael, also known as: ‘Uncle’, 40 is the new 20. For those wondering where the BBHOF is, it's at The Buffalo Bar and Grill located at 307 Louisiana Street in Buffalo. In any event, there is going to be a duel celebration for Rachael as she commemorates 40 years on this earth with 20 of them standing behind the wood... um, I mean bar. Friends, industry people, and patrons who just want to have an excuse to happy hour with a Buffalo bartending legend.

On Friday, August 27, 2021, Rachael and the Casa Di Pizza family will be hosting a celebration. Uncle would have it no other way than to dreadfully turn 40 without making it a big deal. And although turning forty isn’t on her list of favorite things to do, she's glad she's made it this far, with 20 years of bartending under her bedazzled belt.

I hung out with Uncle and here are her thoughts on the celebration

Instead of paying homage to my back pain and brain farts, I would rather celebrate the two decades of working in the bar industry, as my days of being a career bartender will soon come to an end.

2021 may be the end of an era for Rachael, but she is excited to pick up where she left off as a school teacher, welcoming new beginnings in 2022.

I have worked from casinos in Vegas to being inducted into the WNY Bartender’s Hall of Fame, I feel I have given my all to the industry and I have reached my plateau. I will always choose to be a part of this industry (service) but I am ready to move forward with my other aspirations and it would bring nothing but happiness to me to celebrate with all who have been part of her journey.

Now Rachael will be working, and celebrating, during her regular shift at JJ’s Casi Di Pizza from Friday, August 27 from 11 am-4 pm and celebrating through the evening. Stop by for a shot, some pizza, birthday spankings (preferred by Rachael), and hugs. All she asks is to take it “easy on her”.

Rachael at home behind the bar
Rachael at home behind the bar

Rachael also wanted to share some thoughts with all her industry friends and family.

"I’ve been bartending for 20 years. I’ve worked in dive bars, neighborhood pubs, upscale lounges, Vegas casinos, live music venues, and all places in between. If you can order alcohol in an establishment, I have probably poured a drink there. One of my first and most memorable gigs was at Alternative Brews on Sheridan in Amherst. This is where I learned the most. Not in the casinos or posh bars in Las Vegas. This is where I met Paul and Darryl and so many lifelong friends. Darryl was one of the most entertaining bartenders I have ever met. I learned from the best when I got to work under Darryl. I learned how to really connect with people, make them feel special, and just find the good in their lives. I also learned how to use sarcasm properly (most of the time). If Paul had not hired me, I would never have had this amazing opportunity. After about two years Paul and I became the closest of friends. To this day Paul will always be one of my best friends. The years I spent at JP Bullfeathers, Cozumel and Lenox have also granted the lifelong friends and memories I will never forget. I am humbled and grateful for the vast amount of people I have befriended all these years. I am one girl who truly feels love in all directions from so many. Being in the industry, we all feel aches and pains. The missed holidays and family events. Wolfing down, in less than five minutes, all while standing up. From the long endless nights to the nights that fly by.

Rachael at JJ's Casa Di Pizza
Rachael at JJ's Casa Di Pizza

I want to give my gratitude to Casa Di Pizza. My current home. I don’t think I can say I’ve ever been prouder to work for such great people and such a great place.

I love everything about this place, this family; what they stand for, and how they run their business. From the day I started, I felt like I was “home”. It’s no coincidence that Casa means Home. It is a true honor to work for Jeff and Lori and I could not be more content with ending my bartending career here. Last but not least, the biggest shout should probably go to my LIVER. Thanks, liver, for putting up with all of our vodka shots, seltzers, whiskey, wine, craft beers, or whatever liquid courage, spirited painkillers our crazy brain decides to subject us to. Keep it up! To all of you that have been part of this crazy ride…Cheers!"

Cheers to you Rachael. And thank you for not getting me in trouble for accidentally leaving without paying my tab. Yes, it happens to us all.


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