When chef Max MacKissock and several members of his kitchen crew exited the Squeaky Bean in August, Stephen Gallic, the Bean's superbly gracious front-of-the-house showman, departed, too, landing, as did MacKissock, along with other former Bean alums Blake Edmunds and pastry chef Matthew Thompson, at Williams & Graham, the Highland speakeasy owned by Sean Kenyon and Todd Colehour. And there, Gallic assumed several different roles: hosting in the bar, serving as maitre d' and doing a few shifts behind the stick, but Saturday was Gallic's last night at Williams & Graham: Beginning today, he's starting in his new position of operations director of CapRock Farm Bar, a cocktail bar and spirits tasting room that sits front-and-center in the Source, Kyle and Mickey Zeppelin's behemoth culinary-driven marketplace in RiNo.
"Sean and I enjoy working together, he and Todd welcomed me with open arms when I left the Bean, and we have a lot of mutual respect for one another, but this was always intended to be a temporary thing," explains Gallic. "Sean and Todd were kind enough to open a few spots for me, and I needed a job, but they already have a solid system and staff in place, and it wasn't a scenario where they needed me for the long term," he adds.
Gallic, not surprisingly, was flooded with job offers, but when Lance Hanson, the visionary behind CapRock Farm Bar and the founder of Jack Rabbit Hill, a winery based in Hotchkiss, offered him the position at CapRock, Gallic realized it was a terrific opportunity. "I was careful about not committing to anything until I knew it was the right job, but Lance and I had a few conversations that went really well," and the clincher, recalls Gallic, was a visit to Jack Rabbit Hill farm. "Once I saw the dedication of Lance and his wife Anna, I was 100 percent on board with it; I knew that I'd been presented with an amazingly cool opportunity," adds Gallic, whose primary responsibilities are to to put administrative systems in place and continue to do what he does best: engage guests with a personality that personifies genuine hospitality.
And Gallic, who is working hand-in-hand with CapRock bar manager David Donovan, stresses that CapRock will give him a spirits-centric playground in which to push himself. "David, Lance and I all see eye-to-eye, but this is definitely a new challenge for me, and I'm looking forward to doing things outside of my comfort zone," says Gallic, adding that he's also "excited to continue to share the CapRock story and enhance the tasting room experience."
And the Source itself, he adds, was a huge draw. "It's unlike anything I've ever seen -- I love it -- and I think guests feel the same way," he says. "It's just way awesome, and I'm really looking forward to being a part of something that's so cool."
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You'll find Gallic floating around CapRock, alongside Donovan, who will continue to develop cocktails, just about every night. "I love the philosophy of CapRock, and I can really get behind what Lance and Anna are doing. I think this is something that I can really grow with -- and the company is growing, too -- so there's a lot for all of us to look forward to," concludes Gallic.