Veronica Schuster of Harvest Restaurant in Richmond Heights: Featured Bartender of the Week



Welcome to Girl Walks into a Bar, a weekly Gut Check feature that spotlights local bars and bartenders. This week Alissa Nelson profiles Harvest restaurant bartender Veronica Schuster.

  • Alissa Nelson

Veronica Schuster might just possess the most positive mental attitude of any bartender in the world. She loves St. Louis, she loves working at Harvest restaurant in Richmond Heights and she loves bartending. "I've been working in restaurants since I was seventeen, and I've done just about every job in the restaurant, and it's just about my favorite thing to do," she says.

{If you know of a bartender who's deserving of a profile,
e-mail [email protected]}

Click through for a Q&A with Schuster and a video of her making a Wild & Kickin' cocktail...

The St. Louis native got started in the restaurant industry as a hostess at now-defunct 12 North in Clayton. She was recruited as a lunch server soon thereafter. She began bartending during a stint as a server at Cyrano's while earning her bachelor's degree in advertising and marketing. Three years ago Harvest owner Stephen Gontram lured Schuster to his restaurant, where she has tended bar ever since.

The bar at Harvest isn't easily overlooked -- it's the first sight that greets diners as they walk through the door. Yet the fourteen-year-old establishment is known to most for its menu and not its equally carefully crafted seasonal drink list, on which Schuster and Gontram collaborate.

The bar selections mirror the restaurant's focus on seasonal, locally focused cuisine. Harvest fresh-squeezes its juices fresh and stocks top-shelf liquors; a cucumber martini is made with Hendrick's gin, and the Wild and Kickin' has a Maker's Mark backbone.

With such a mellow and sunny disposition, you'd be tempted to peg Schuster as a yoga devotee. You'd be wrong "I actually hate it!" she says. "I need to do lots of cardio."

In three words, how would you describe your bartending style? Casual. Friendly. Fast.

Favorite drink to drink? I like tasting different whiskeys and bourbons.

Favorite drink to make? Any drink on our cocktail menu is fun to make. Right now I really like our cucumber martini.

Drink you hate making? Things like a mojito, since they're really time-consuming.

What makes you ignore a customer at the bar? Oh, goodness! One thing that would make me take a little extra time -- although I would never ignore them -- is if they snap.

Can you spot trouble when it walks in the door? Not really. We don't get a lot of those customers here!

Best/worst song on the jukebox? Otis Redding's "Try a Little Tenderness" or "Dock of the Bay."

Worst/best thing you've ever seen happen in your bar? I'm sure everybody else has way more interesting things, but we have had some people get engaged here. I've had some couples come in and get into arguments and then walk out one after the other.

How do you keep yourself occupied on a slow night? I try to clean and organize the bar. I like reading bartending magazines that we get here, and I have a textbook of liquors that I like to read through.

Who would you most like to have a drink with? My brother Dan, who is in Afghanistan.

Where are you most likely to be found when you're not in this bar? At home, either working at my computer or just hanging out.

Best hangover cure? Coffee, water and a hot shower.

Worst pickup line you've ever heard? I've had a couple of older gentlemen hint around -- "I'd like to ask you out, but I'm old enough to be your father" -- but that's about it.

Most unusual liquor you've ever seen? I got to taste this vermouth at Taste [by Niche] that they don't sell in the U.S. It was amazing.

Best/worst drinking holiday? St. Patrick's Day. Making my Irish ancestors proud. The worst is probably New Year's Eve, because I'm usually working.

Biggest tab you've ever seen? $600 for a lot of nice wine and dinner for two people.

If you could start a band, what kind of band would you start? Definitely rock & roll. Something Janis Joplin-esque.

Drunk food of choice? French fries.

Three adjectives that describe your bar. Versatile. Delicious. Relaxing.

My bar is the only bar in St. Louis where _______. You can have a really great meal and still make new friends.

Harvest 1059 South Big Bend Boulevard, Richmond Heights 314-645-3522

If you know of a bartender who's deserving of a profile, e-mail [email protected]


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