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Bartender of the month: Jason Parsons of Kitchen LTO

Jason Parsons created the cocktail menu at Kitchen LTO
Jason Parsons created the cocktail menu at Kitchen LTO
Robert Stahl

Think of Jason Parsons as a cornerstone at Kitchen LTO, the self-professed “permanent pop-up” restaurant in Trinity Groves. For the uninitiated, those initials stand for “Limited Time Only”; every four months, the restaurant features a different chef and food menu. But Parsons isn’t going anywhere, especially not when he’s taken on so much responsibility. Not only is he lead bartender and assistant kitchen manager, he’s the bar manager, too. Phew! And while he exudes great enthusiasm when describing the activity in the kitchen, his excitement is never more obvious than when he talks about his self-created cocktail menu. “I don’t consider myself a creative type at all—I can’t draw or paint—but I really enjoyed experimenting with our drink menu.” For spring, Parsons wanted a mix of original and classic cocktails. You’ll find snappy new selections like the Ginny French (made with gin, yellow Chartreuse and Lillet Blanc) nestled up alongside new versions of the classics (the LTO Manhattan is made with port wine and sage honey. Like, yum!) You’ve got to give Parsons credit for having verve. Actually, we’d accept nothing less from a concept as refreshing as Kitchen LTO.

Tell me something about yourself that most people don’t know.
I tried for a short time to be a stand up comedian. I did two shows and bombed miserably. I thought being a lead bartender was intense, but being on stage was really scary. Well, at least I can say I did something I really wanted to do. And it doesn’t mean I won’t do it again some day.

Who would play you in a movie of your life?
Chuck Norris. I have no idea why; I just want to be like him. (I’ve already got the beard.)

What spirit are you totally into right now?
I like both yellow and green Chartreuse. You can add them both to so many things and create some really interesting and complex flavors.

What’s the biggest misconception about bartenders?
That we’re all partiers. I know a lot who are, but I’m not. And I know a lot of other guys who aren’t either. We’re all kind of family guys and after our shift we just go home. That’s what I’ll do, go home, or go hangout with my girlfriend and the dogs. I think a lot of people think bartenders get to drink and party all night behind the bar, but if you’re serious about your job there’s no drinking. Especially not in a corporate restaurant enivneorment like this one is.

What’s your best skill?
Definitely my speed, that’s why I’m usually in the well, followed by my creativity. I can make up drinks on the fly if someone tells me what they like and usually hit their palate pretty well.

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