Phil Podvorec is a familiar face at Casey Moore's Oyster House (850 S. Ash Ave., 480-968-9935), and he should be. The 35-year-old has worked at the Tempe staple for the better part of a decade, serving up drinks and good conversation to day and nighttime imbibers alike. Phil says his customers and co-workers are some of his best friends -- why would he want to leave?
How'd you start out at Casey Moore's?
I started out serving here about 8 and a half years ago. I got offers about working behind the bar when I first started, but I didn't want to ruffle any feathers because there's some people who've worked here for so long that want to be back here, so I politely said no. Two or three years after that I got put back here during the days, with one or two night shifts a week.
So people usually work for a while here?
It's like a family around here. There are people that have been around for 20 years, 15, 10.
Is that a good thing or a bad thing?
It's a very good thing. The longest I've worked at a restaurant before coming here was five years, but here I've had no reason to leave. It's like one big family. My best friends work here, both on this side of the bar and the other side.
What's one thing you hate about bartending?
Well, it's still work. And there are little pet peeves I get. When it's busy, people come up to the bar, flag me down, and then have no idea what they want. They spend a while deciding, forget to pay, and you're like "You couldn't have figured this all out before you got me?"
Say it's the weekend and the place is packed. What's the best way to get your attention?
Usually around here we're really good about it. I've seen a lot of guys in Scottsdale snap their fingers or hold up money to flag bartenders down. Honestly, I just look around at who's been here first and we just go through the line.
Any stories of crazy customers?
There was a guy who came in during the day about a year and a half ago. He was just kind of strange. He decided to call me and a couple of my regulars "white devil," saying we should burn in hell. We had to get rid of him.
What do you drink when you go out?
Me, I usually drink vodka sodas. They're just plain, simple and easy.
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What's one bartending tool you couldn't live without?
Juices on the gun, definitely. I've seen and worked at places where you have to work with canned stuff, and it just takes so much more time to get things made. The amount of time it saves might seem very minute, but when you're busy it's always easier to just have it right there.
If we looked in your liquor cabinet at home, what would we find?
A bottle of Stolichnaya, a bottle of Three Olives Chocolate, a bottle of Sailor Jerry's, a bottle of Patron Silver, bottle of Absinthe, lots of wine, and a bottle of tequila put out by Vince Neil that's actually signed by him.
Is there a story behind that last one?
I have a friend who's a liquor rep. She just knew I liked Motley Crue and gave it to me as a present.
If someone named a drink after you, what ingredients would be in it?
It would have to be close to what I drink already. Some type of flavored vodka, with some soda water and a splash of Red Bull.