Freelance Food & Drinks Writer

Tag Archives: Berto Santoro

Conatser tops PoPFest Bartending Competition—again

In the weeks leading up to the Paris of the Plains Bartending Competition, much was made of the fact that Chris Conatser of Justus Drugstore placed every time he entered what was formerly known as the Greater Kansas City Bartending Competition. And last night he kept the streak alive, taking first place with his Manhattan (in)Verse.

PoPFest Bartending Competition winners lookin’ pretty happy. From left, Berto Santoro (3rd), Matt Seiter (Fan Favorite), Jenn Tosatto (2nd) and Chris Conatser (1st).
That bring’s Conatser’s tally to two first-place wins (2008 & 2012), one second (2010) and a third (2009). Not that he was the only one to reaffirm his track record.
Second-place winner Jenn Tosatto, bar manager of The Rieger Hotel Grill & Exchange, is a five-time finalist who placed third in 2008. Berto Santoro, Extra Virgin’s bar manager, and Matt Seiter of Sanctuaria, St. Louis were both onstage last year. Santoro took third in 2012; Seiter was voted Fan Favorite.
Theirs weren’t the only familiar faces.  Kansas City’s Travis Stewart of Port Fonda, Paige Unger of Michael Smith Restaurant and Arturo Vera-Felicie of The Farmhouse were all returning competitors. Other finalists included Chris Burmeister, The Goose and Bramble & Hare, Boulder, Colo.; Carol Donovan, Hearty Restaurant, Chicago, Ill.; Phoebe Esmon, Kennett South 2nd, Philadelphia, Pa.; Giovanni Ferlaino, Ludivine, Oklahoma City, Okla.; and Liz Pearce, The Drawing Room, Chicago, Ill.
Did they put on a good show? Absolutely. Continue Reading

PoPFest Bartending Competition goes big

There’s nothing like strolling into your favorite bar, takin’ a seat and watching a great bartender go to work. Unless you go to the Paris of the Plains Bartending Competition on Sunday night, where you can see a dozen of the country’s best mix it up on Sunday night as they vie for the $1,750… Continue Reading

Paris of the Plains pops in Kansas City

In 2007, Ryan Maybee and Doug Frost started a little thing called the Greater Kansas City Bartending Competition. Well, little in comparison to what that event’s grown into—the Paris of the Plains Cocktail Festival. The week-long event’s already underway, and I wrote about it in today’s Kansas City Star (KC’s cocktail culture births Paris of… Continue Reading

GKCBC Recap

It’s still a buzz seeing something I wrote in print, even 20-odd years on as a journalist. But I’m a perfectionist, so reading my own work can be as frustrating as it is satisfying. In today’s case, it was the realization that I didn’t list all the winners and finalists in my Kansas City Star… Continue Reading

Campos Tops 5th GKCBC

The Fifth Annual Greater Kansas City Bartending Competition had it all: inventive cocktails, impressive bartenders, demanding judges and even burlesque. Much of what I’ve gleaned in recent weeks—including plans for a week-long cocktail extravaganza called Paris of the Plains in 2012—will appear in the Kansas City Star on Sept. 7, but so much more will… Continue Reading

Barrel-aged bliss

Talk about barrel aging, and you’re usually talking about brown spirits like bourbon or Scotch, or just as likely wine. But at Extra Virgin in the Crossroads, it’s all about the cocktails. Manhattans, Negronis and even Sidecars—bartender Berto Santoro’s been making them by the barrel-full. Why? Because barrel aging does much the same thing to… Continue Reading

The GKCBC’s Lucky 13

The Greater Kansas City Bartending Competition has announced its Lucky 13—the thirteen bartenders who will on Aug. 21 to compete for the Midwest’s premier bartending title. Of course, it’s not all luck. Each of these pros has already created a unique cocktail; next, they must batch it for the event’s tasting room (which means you,… Continue Reading