I had a guest come in a few weeks who told me her father was Basque. She said it was the fifth anniversary of her father's death and she came in to ANXO to honor him. She loved our food and Basque cider and very emotionally said it brought back so many beautiful memories of her father cooking for them and drinking cider. She was so thankful to us for providing her this opportunity. I had no idea how to respond; I was tearing up. That's the most rewarding type of moment. How can you possibly top that? You put up with a lot of not-so-fun things in this industry, but those very rare moments can keep you going for months at a time.
What excites you about DC’s drinks scene right now?
The single most exciting thing for me is how adventurous the people in this city are when it comes to drinks. People have very discerning palates, but are also very open-minded and eager to experience new things. I mean, the fact that we opened a bar that focuses not just on cider, but on very traditional cider, and we're extremely busy, is amazing. We're serving cider in 6oz pours in a white wine glass and people aren't coming in like, "What the hell is this? Why is this such a small pour in a wine glass?" They're just like "OK, cool, yeah, this makes sense. This is great. I want tons of this." I thought we were going to have to fight an uphill battle to educate people about cider and turn them on to cider, and honestly, I underestimated the people in this city.