You won't catch Amy Williams sneaking peeks at a glowing screen while she tends bar. She'd rather focus on doing things the old-fashioned way. She lives in the Detroit Shoreway neighborhood within walking distance of Toast, where she mixes drinks. Much like the 40-year-old Mentor native, her drinks are urbane without the fuss, vibrant without leaving the old behind. Williams' menu, divided into sections such as Something Old and Something New-ish, allows her to experiment. Take her Hibiscus Pimms Cup, for example, a mix of Cleveland Tea Revival hibiscus syrup, lemon and Pimm's No. 1.
i like to take a cue from [chefs] Jennifer and Joe [Horvath], who run the kitchen, and source as much local product as I can.
i'm on a three-ingredient kick. I like creating something that tastes really complex or well-balanced that actually only has minimal ingredients in it. One of my favorite cocktails on the menu right now just has three ingredients, the Zephyrus.
It's a bourbon-based cocktail with this really awesome French aperitif, Bonal and a little white vermouth in it. It's for the bourbon drinker, something that's not as sweet as a Manhattan or an Old-Fashioned but has a little more depth.
One of my first jobs in the industry was actually as a barista.
I'm old-fashioned a little bit. I only recently got a car, for the first time since I just graduated high school. It had been about 20 years since I had an automobile. I still don't have a cellphone. People hate helping me move because I have a lot of books, records and art supplies.
I just moved down the street from where I lived before, and I still go to my neighbor's house and help them with their grocery shopping and garbage. They're 97 and 93, this couple, straight from Italy. They don't speak a lot of English, so I communicate as best I can.
I like being neighborly. That's one thing I've learned from our customers, because we do get a lot of people from the neighborhood. It's just a more emotional connection with my neighbor. Working here and living here brings it all together.
If I hear someone say something incorrectly on the other side of the bar from me, I'm not going to correct them.
I don't care to go to places where you feel like you have to worship the bartender a little bit to get good service or a good drink. It's about educating them without teaching them.