Bar Beat

A Chat with Trey Lindberg of Benjy's

If you want to chat up Benjy's barkeep Trey Lindberg -- and why wouldn't you? He's cute and makes a seriously decent mojito -- then bring up football. Trey, a former high school player, Texans season ticket holder and aspiring coach, is obsessed. He's on a flag league out in Katy, where he does not live. "You'd think that since it's flag football, it's just going to be regular guys," he says, "but no, these are ex-semi-pro players, college players and whatnot."

During the fall, he doesn't work on Saturday, Sunday or Monday nights so he can watch all the games -- college and pro. And getting his employers to work around this pigskin schedule is nothing new. "I had a backpacking job in Davy Crockett National Forest (near Lufkin). We would do backpacking tours where we'd go out for eight days straight. When it came time for pre-season, I was like, I can't stay because I have to be up on my sports. The very next day a guy comes out in this four-wheeler and drops off a battery-powered TV. He's like, 'Here you go, but don't let anybody else see this.'"

Clever sports nut that he is -- he's just three classes shy of a biology degree from the University of Houston -- Lindberg worked at Two Rows for several years, the better to see any and every sporting event and get paid all the while. What wooed him away? "The people that work here are older, more professional. At Two Rows, everyone is in high school or college and it's a lot of drama."

Lindberg likes his co-workers and owner Benjy Levit. "When this was the only location, Benjy was here every day. Now that he has the other location on Washington, he's here about every other day. He manages the restaurant, front of the house and back of the house. He's not afraid to jump behind the bar, too. He does whatever needs to be done. It's hard to find that in a restaurant owner."

Despite the lack of sports programming at Benjy's, Lindberg is quite happy behind the bar there. "I like the customer interaction as a bartender. I waited tables for a long time at Two Rows, and when you're a waiter, people boss you around: 'Go get me this,' or 'Go get me that.' When somebody comes up to the bar, they're relaxed, they'll sit there and have a friendly conversation with you. Everybody respects the bartender. Nobody respects the waiter."

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Sarah Rufka