Bar Beat

Bartender Chat - Nick Leone of Komodo's

It has officially been two years and two weeks since Nick Leone moved to Houston. He's not really a big-city type of guy, but he moved here after the economy in Florida started going downhill. "For a big city, Houston is a great town with really friendly people," Leone told us. You don't have to tell us twice. Leone started bartending seven years ago to make money after a snowboarding accident and has been at Komodo's for about a year now. Prior to Komodo's, he worked at the late LZ's. "The owner of LZ's and Komodo's is really sweet," Leone explained. "She is very loyal to her employees, so when LZ's closed, she found me a spot at Komodo's."

That night, we were drinking vodka and soda, but we asked Leone what his favorite drinks were to make. He told us he has the best upside-down pineapple shot in Houston. Most bartenders we meet hate making the upside-down pineapple shot, so we were shocked. "There isn't really a drink I don't like to make," Leone told us. "I'm a bartender. That's what I do is make drinks." He also likes his Galveston Bay martini - half olive juice and half vodka.

Just don't order his margarita. Leone told us, "I haven't really had a lot of margaritas, so I don't think it's my best drink. Plus, there are so many places nearby with great margaritas." He's not from Texas, so we'll forgive him for not knowing about margaritas.

What's Leone's drink of choice? Dripping Springs vodka on the rocks. But when a friend of ours tried to order Dripping Springs vodka, he told us that Komodo's stopped carrying it. "No one ever ordered it, and I was the only one drinking it." Leone assured us that it was great vodka and owned and operated in Texas. We do like to support our local businesses.

Leone makes you feel like a regular at Komodo's even if it's your first time there. He calls you by name and makes sure your drink never goes empty. So will he stick with bartending? "If I could be 80 years old and making good money as a bartender, that would be great."

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Jane Catherine Collins