As difficult as it might be to pronounce his last name, it sure is easy to speak with Joe Gianchino (gee-en-kee-no).
The Sicilian/Irish KC native loves talking to everyone and anyone who crosses his path. Which is why Gianchino, 26, gleefully embraces his role as bartender at the Green Lady Lounge, 1809 Grand Blvd., in the Crossroads Arts District.
It was while completing his undergraduate studies in medicinal chemistry and biology at University of Missouri that Gianchino started working behind the bar.
“I had a great time at Mizzou and always tell people I got my third degree in bartending,” Gianchino says.
After “stumbling upon” his major, Gianchino was given an opportunity to bartend at Columbia’s Bleu, where he had been working part time as a dishwasher, busboy and general helper.
“The bartenders there were taller and bigger guys who weren’t moving too swift when we got slammed,” Gianchino observes. “I was able to move a little faster in and out and always had this big s--t-eating grin on my face while doing it.”
The manager saw Gianchino’s delight and asked if he wanted to learn how to bartend. Realizing that lab work was far too asocial for his extroverted nature, Gianchino moved back to KC and joined up with Green Lady right after graduating in 2013.
Though he’s still pursuing a career in medicine, Gianchino is happy as a hunk of blue cheese in a martini olive about working at a spot that offers live jazz every night of the week, for free.
At Green Lady, Gianchino regularly listens to some of the best jazz and big band groups in the area.
“I’m dancing behind the bar,” Gianchino says. “It’s, like, tattooed all over my face: I love these bands!”
Q: What is an ingredient you hate?
A: I am totally not picky. Unless it’s Italian food. Because I’m Italian.
Q: Favorite drink ingredient?
Q: What is your favorite cheap meal on the fly?
A: Hot wings! From CJ’s in Columbia.
Q: Best meal you’ve had this week?
A: I made chicken tacos last night. They were pretty awesome.
Q: When money and calories aren’t a concern, what do you splurge on?
A: Caddy Shack Pizza
Q: What’s your go-to drink at the end of a long day?
A: Shot of Old Overholt and a High Life.
Q: Dream vacation?
Q: Can you describe your bartending style in 10 words or less?
Q: Which celebrity would you like to make a drink for?
Q: Any guidebook you use for mixing drinks?
A: On the fly, I’ll use Google.
Q: Any drink you absolutely hate to make?
A: No. Unless it’s a pomegranate martini for the 15th time.
Q: Any drink you love to make?
Q: Pizza: Hot and fresh, or cold and morning after?
Q: What culinary trend do you wish would hit town?
A: Bugs. In 2011, there was a giant uprising of cicadas, so the chef I was working for at the time decided to bake ’em. Why not?
Q: Favorite KC barbecue?
A: My uncle’s ribs and my mom’s brisket.
Q: Favorite foodie city aside from KC?
A: Austin, Texas.
Q: What else would you do if you weren’t a bartender?
A: I’m training in medical school. So, doctor.
Green Lady Lounge
1809 Grand Blvd.
Kansas City MO