Welcome to Front & Center, a series highlighting front of the house professionals in Austin restaurants. We've asked local industry folks, media types and food fans to tell us who makes dining out in Austin a pleasure—if you'd like to throw in your two cents, there's room for that, too.
Austinist food and drink editor Tom Thornton nominates The Carillon's beverage director Patrick Jones as his favorite front-of-house staffer. Writes Thornton:
He's always personable and seems to remember the last time you came in. He'll be happy to point out the value plays on the wine list and will try to steer you away from any potential food and beverage pairing train wrecks. Since The Carillon is a more quiet spot, he'll make subtle changes like simplifying the cocktail menu (in terms of number of ingredients) to reduce the wait times for diners.
FInally, he's easy to chat with, and really seems to take pride in what The Carillon is doing. I'm not sure why they fly under the radar - I think it is the non-downtown location coupled with the "hotel" thing - but it is the best value in high-end dining in Austin full-stop.
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Patrick Jones. [Photo: Texas Winos]