For the 12 years that I have been dancing, 8 were spent working in restaurants and bars. Philadelphia's Glamorous PARC, hearty Mix Bar and Grill, and the neighborhood Marathon positioned me in service; I was rehearsing and dancing by day and serving by night. For many, this is a reality. I used to have mixed feelings about this, often resenting the necessity of doing so, and what I perceived to be outsiders’ condescending stereotypes of artists in the food industry. And while I still have mixed beliefs, the special relationship of performers to their food service place of employment is undeniably important. It is often thanks to these accepting and eccentric businesses that we dancers are able to continue our craft and also pay the bills. Plus, the specific + practical skills, food knowledge and discipline that hospitality teaches deserves mad respect.
Mix Bar and Grill, on the ol’ corner of 21st and Chestnut, was my beloved workplace for so long. The chef, cooks, bussers and staff work with integrity, I saw it behind the scenes. It is frequented by fun, friendly clientele, with an atmosphere of comfort that so many old-time sitcoms attempt to portray. And the food – delicious signature favorites and new surprises, (most ordered in my time was the brick oven pizza, Mediterranean inspirations, salads and soups, and the finger-licking wing choices.) Check out their menu at https://www.mixbarandgrillphilly.com/
Of course, its great success is to the credit of the owner. Victor is unmistakable in appearance and known about town, with his inviting demeanor, contagious smile and locked head of hair. He loves to have a good time and is the kind of person that would give you the shirt off of his back. Skilled in construction (and with his own construction company), he personally added touches to make the place look great. He gave me a chance, when I first came by with an inquiry about serving. He and the manager even let me schedule my shifts around my dance career, trusting me with remaining professional and not taking advantage of their care.
Mix Bar and Grill supported my dream for so long that I feel it is now my duty to do the same. Like every business, 2020 has had an intense impact on Mix, but as I spoke to Victor as we headed into the new “phase” and his safe outdoor dining area was just opening, he remains optimistic. Head over to 2101 Chestnut as soon as you are able, to relax, enjoy some great drinks with friends and reclaim the charm of outdoor dining.