The Tasting Panel magazine

December 2011

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Page 126 of 128

Brad Jackson Y General Manager, Mickey Mantle's Steakhouse ankees legend Mickey Mantle would be proud of the fel- low Okie running his popular steakhouse. Brad Jackson, 28, General Manager of Oklahoma City's Mickey Mantle's Steakhouse, went to the school of hard knocks, just like Mickey. At 20, Jackson took a waiter position at Oklahoma City's hottest downtown restaurant and became the bartender a year later. He eventually became the GM and leads his staff by example. "I don't ask anybody to do anything I wouldn't do," Jackson says. "If my dishwasher says he needs help, I'll take the jacket and tie off and do dishes. If workers know you are willing to do what they do, they have respect for you and appreciate their position a little more." But it's not just elbow grease that gets the job done for Jackson. He expects a high level of wine and spirits education from his waitstaff. Despite having a certi- fi ed Sommelier on staff, he makes sure his 11 waiters and waitresses have the education equivalent of a fi rst-level somm. With alcohol beverages accounting for one-third of his total sales, Jackson holds weekly blind tastings and tests his staff to make sure they are as sharp as the top waiters in New York and Las Vegas. And for good reason. Brad Jackson is making news in Oklahoma City. Thanks to NBA team The Oklahoma Thunder, LeBron James, Kevin Durant and other NBA stars can be seen at the bar or enjoying a medium-rare steak. And it's not just them. People maga- zine mentioned Fergie's visit to the steakhouse, while Reba McEntire regularly patrons the restaurant. Keep in mind this is Oklahoma City. "Oklahomans are still new to prime steakhouses and celebrities," Jackson says. "In Dallas, you can fi nd one on every corner." With the booming oil and gas industry and a powerful municipal infra- structure effort, Oklahoma City is changing to become more like Dallas—and that includes the restaurant scene. That's why Jackson keeps his staff's palates in top shape. "I remind people every day we are in the customer service busi- ness," he says. —Fred Minnick 126 / the tasting panel / december 201 1 Brad Jackson's Top Five Faves 1 Favorite baseball team: The Yankees, which makes the Mickey Mantle's Steakhouse a paradise. "I'm a hardcore Yankees fan. Imagine seeing memorabilia and Mickey Mantle plas- tered everywhere every day— that's a nice addition as a Yankees fan." 2 3 Favorite wine on his current list: Caymus 2007 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. Favorite reason for loving his restaurant: "I met my wife in this restaurant. We waited tables together." 4 Favorite thing to tell an employee to make their day better: A VIP is coming tonight—in your section. "That usually gets the juices fl owing, because they know I trust them with a big spender." 5 Favorite bourbon: Maker's Mark. Brad Jackson's Five Pet Peeves Grumpy bartenders. 1 2 3 4 5 Bartenders who think they know more than the customer does. Bartenders who scam and throw money into their pockets. A fi lthy bar. Lager not served in a frozen mug. THE LIST Our series continues, thanks to Funkin fresh fruit purées, a brand that supports the integrity of the Food and Beverage people in our industry. " 5 " PHOTO: FRED MINNICK Taking Inventory with. . .

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