We've had one manager with us for 12 years! She is an integral part of the way both restaurants run and thrive. Elizabeth Ciarlelli is our Events Manager and we honestly don't know what we'd do with out her. She plans and organizes all of our events at ZINC and Kitchen ZINC and is our day manager to make sure lunch smoothly.
Name: Elizabeth Ciarlelli
Where are you from? New Haven
What do you love about working at ZINC and Kitchen ZINC?
I love the satisfaction of meeting a constant variety of guests with distinct personalities and desires and the challenge of discovering who they are and how to best serve them. It is demanding and incredibly rewarding when you know you helped to create a memorable experience for every guest. I work with a very intense group of dedicated and extremely talented professionals. We are all pretty passionate about food, wine and customer service so we are mostly on the same page about how to come together to make the big picture work. We are responsible for two very successful restaurants and have to communicate and look at what we are doing on a regular basis to keep everyone on point. We all have the same ultimate goals, creating a welcoming and hospitable environment for every guest and for our staff, making our work place a positive and fulfilling place to work. It's very rewarding work.
When you're not at work, what do you do in your free time?
I love to travel, cook, bake, taste wine and read about cooking, baking and wine! I also read a lot, practice yoga and work with our family beekeeping and honey production. (She and her husband own and operate a small apiary called Wing Dance Apiary and produce delicious honey!)
What is your favorite item from the menu?
Right now, I would say the Salmon Gravlax Poke Bowl on the dinner menu at ZINC. The gravlax is house made, always so fresh and the combination of flavors and textures is perfect.
What is your favorite kind of event to plan?
I don't have a favorite event. Every one of them is new and exciting to deal with. Meeting the guest, communicating with them to discover what type of event are they planning, how do they want the event to play out and all of the countless other details are part of how we work to create the best possible experience for any event.
What was the biggest event held at the restaurant?
We have a number of buyouts of both ZINC and Kitchen ZINC for dinners and receptions. We've planned many standing receptions and seated dinners at ZINC where we have closed the restaurant for a private event. We plan these events at Kitchen ZINC as well, with smaller groups. The KZ patio is part of the buyout during the warmer months, so guests can have the full use of both inside and out, weather permitting of course. These are great to do because we are all focused on the one "show" rather than the steady flow of constant guests and turning tables. Both the kitchen and front of the house really shine with these events. They can be a bit less stressful since we have game plan for the event and everyone has their role to play as usual, but you are serving a finite group of guests for set period of time. Denise our Chef/Owner creates a special menu which is another great part of the planning for me with the guest. We love these events.
What type of events can be held at the restaurant?
We have planned almost every type of event! Business meetings, lunch and dinner programs with audio visual equipment, engagement parties, weddings, baby showers, class reunions, family reunions, book signing events, community organization gatherings, events for non-profit groups, cocktail receptions....They are always challenging and ultimately very rewarding for us.
What are you looking forward to this year?
Learning and discovering more every day. It really never stops at work and in life and this is the best part of what I do. We have access to so much extraordinary food, wine and spirits to work with when creating our menus. So much planning goes into how we are going to craft every dish, every specialty cocktail, every featured wine as well as how we are training each staff member to represent the best of what ZINC and Kitchen ZINC is. Being stimulated and challenged keeps it all alive.
So if you're thinking about planning an event (graduation, bridal shower, rehearsal dinner, etc) Elizabeth is the person you want to help organize a successful event. Or the next time you're in for lunch, say hello! Her warm smile is welcoming and will make your experience at ZINC memorable.