PEOPLE

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CHIRON: Hey, Pausanias?

PAUSANIAS: Don’t talk to me. You killed Zeus.

CHIRON: Sure, but he’s a God. He’s an archetype or something. Eventually all your gods will be dead and you’ll have to realize that people are what matters.

ALCIBIADES: We mortals are mere puppets of the gods.

CHIRON: Ahahaha yeah. You go invade Sicily, Alcibiades. /Chiron Batchlett

Best Barista

Gold
Joey Maddigan
Atlantis 1992 Hamilton St. 306-565-2213 atlantiscoffee.com

Silver Ethan Anderson (33 1/3 Coffee Roasters) Bronze Fred Chamberlain (Second Cup on Rochdale) Honorable Mention Annabel Townsend (Dr. Coffee’s Cafe), Sam Zacaruk (Stone’s Throw Coffee House)

Meet Joey Maddigan, the luxuriously ponytailed bean-slinger of Atlantis Coffee and Regina’s 2016 Best Barista, as voted by you guys. Joey pours a lot of coffee in a day: cappuccinos, lattes, espressos and more. What’s his favourite drink to make? “Our traditional cappuccino,” he says. “It’s two shots of espresso with equal milk and foam and latte art on top. I like making those.”

How about the shop? What’s it like working at Atlantis? “Atlantis is pretty friendly,” says Joey. “It’s the type of place where you like the people you work with and get to know the regulars. I did have to kick out a guy once for standing on a chair proclaiming his love for Jesus, though.”

Sounds like a good place to collect stories. Joey agrees. “I always thought it would be cool if someone did a musical about a coffee shop and the baristas,” he says. “Just their lives and the customers, and the stories in the cafe. Someone’s going to do it eventually!” /Stephen Whitworth

Best Bartender

Gold
Niall O’Hanlon
Retired

Silver Andrew Shanks (O’Hanlon’s Irish Pub) Bronze Keegan Durovick (Brewsters in Normanview) Honorable Mention Robin Finch (Fireside Bistro), Ryan Salter (Fireside Bistro)

Back in the olden days there was a fine Irish lad named Niall O’Hanlon who poured pints at his namesake bar on Scarth St. Many a prank was played and laugh had as Niall preached the gospel of Guinness to a most serious and sober congregation. Alas, this handsome feller retired from the bar last summer and information on his current whereabouts is hard to come by. Some say he went back to Limerick, Ireland to arm-wrestle horses. Others say they’ve seen him hoisting pints at The Fat Badger on the Frederick W. Hill Mall or at Durty Nellys on Dewdney. Still others reckon he’s taken up the life of a globe-hopping adventurer, helping folks in need wherever they might be. And what about those reports of a bearded, dusty and toothless Irishman wandering Regina’s streets? Wherever he is and whatever he’s doing, we wish Mr. O’Hanlon all the best. /Stephen Whitworth

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Best Server: Fine Dining

Gold
Becca Toderian
Copper Kettle 1953 Scarth St. 306-525-3545 ckpizza.ca

Silver Ryan Salter (Fireside Bistro) Bronze Robin Finch (Fireside Bistro)

I’ve never tried my hand at songwriting before, but if you’ll indulge me now I’m going to give it a shot to shake up the format of this feature a bit. So here it goes: “Nobody does fine-dining service better//Makes me feel sad for the rest//Nobody does it half as good as you//Becca, you’re the best!” Hey… that’s not bad! Of course, that’s only the first verse. I’ve still got plenty of writing ahead of me before I’ve got a full song. Fortunately, with your pick for Best Server: Fine Dining and the other finalists in this category, I’ve got plenty of inspiration. /Gregory Beatty

Best Server: Casual Dining

Gold
Katie Strong
Victoria’s Tavern 1965 Hamilton St. 306-352-8427 victoriastavern.ca.

Silver Maegan Lawson-Dupuis (Fireside Bistro)

We really went to town with Best Server this year. Still, when you look at the four sub-categories, it’s hard to argue that any aren’t warranted as each comes with its own unique set of challenges (and hopefully pleasures). As Carolyn notes in her blurb below, children are a major wild card in Family Dining. In the Pub/Lounge category, dealing with inebriated patrons is a definite wrinkle. Fine Dining, meanwhile, suggests a soupçon of formal elegance. Then there’s Casual Dining. That could take different forms, I suppose, but in the case of Katie Strong at Victoria’s Tavern, it pretty much runs the patron gamut from upscale pub dining to all-out-booze-a-thon. That can’t be an easy gap to bridge, but Katie does it with grace and style. And she’s your pick for Best Server: Casual Dining. /Gregory Beatty

Best Server: Family Dining

Gold
Maegan Lawson-Dupuis
Fireside Bistro 2305 Smith St. 306-761-2305 firesidebistro.ca

Silver Robin Finch (Fireside Bistro) Bronze Breana Whippler (Brewsters in Normanview)

So what makes a great server at a family restaurant? Patience and tolerance for all ages, but especially when it comes to rambunctious or cranky children is one key. Like understanding the often unintelligible mutterings of little Johnny who insists on ordering for himself, or keeping an eye on cute Emma crawling on the floor so she doesn’t trip someone carrying a tray of hot soup. How about the knack of laughing naturally like it’s the first time you’ve heard the corny joke told by the good-natured grandpa who’s joined the family for Sunday brunch, or the ability to recognize that look on a parent’s face when they can’t take it anymore and need to pay their bill pronto so they can get their kids home to bed. According to Prairie Dog voters Megan Lawson-Dupuis has all of these qualities and more, and that gives her the right to wear the crown as Best Server: Family Dining. /Carolyn Rebeyka

Best Server: Pub/Lounge

Gold
Cheryl Tovey
Bushwakker 2206 Dewdney Ave. 306-359-7276 bushwakker.com

Silver Andrea Churko-Roh (O’Hanlon’s Irish Pub) Bronze Ryan Salter (Fireside Bistro) Honorable Mention Maegan Lawson-Dupuis (Fireside Bistro), Robin Finch (Fireside Bistro)

Yeah, yeah, you served tables while putting yourself through school. Well done. Try matching Cheryl Tovey. The 22-year serving vet is one of Bushwakker’s originals, starting only a few months after Bev Robertson and crew opened their doors, and their casks, to Regina in 1992. Cheryl’s a seven-time Prairie Dog Best Server winner, managing everything that happens on the Bushwakker floor as staff bring you your food and drink orders. She stays on top of it all, always telling newbie beer drinkers about the best brew for their uninitiated palates. She even helped create one of the brewpub’s own ales: Cheryl’s Blond Ale. /Evan Radford

Best Chef

Gold
Dave Straub
Flip Eatery & Drink 1970 Hamilton St. 306-205-8345 fliprestaurant.ca.

Silver Jssel Blackmore (Sprout Catering) Bronze Leo Pantel (Conexus Arts Centre) Honorable Mention Scott Aspelieter (Fireside Bistro), Martin Snow (The Creek In Cathedral), Ricardo Rodriguez (Table 10)

A few years ago I interviewed Dave Straub for Best of Food & Drink, not long after Flip Eatery and Drink had opened. Now, he’s gone from head chef of one restaurant to executive chef of Flip and nearby Malt City (2201 11th Ave, maltcity.ca), working with a team of chefs, line cooks, kitchen managers and so on. Yet there’s no mistaking a Dave Straub dish, with its insistence on rich flavours, local ingredients and a sensibility that combines comfort with inspiration. The best of his dishes express an idea or recall a memory, such as the clever craft dinner at Malt City. But I’ll take a hanger steak burger from Flip as well. /Aidan Morgan

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