A MIXOLOGIST THE BAR CHIEF AT MANHATTAN UPPER EAST SIDE INSTITUTION CAMPAGNOLA, ON THE RESTAURANT’S RICH HISTORY AND HOW A LIFE IN SERVICE OFFERS SURPRISING REWARDS
BY GILDA ROGERS • PHOTOS BY AMANDA DOMENECH
As a youngster, native New Yorker Andrew Maloney wanted to follow in his father Richard’s footsteps and become a New York City police officer. This led him to attend Saint Leo University in Tampa, Florida, where he graduated in 1990 with a degree in criminal justice.
“My father retired from the police force and we moved to New Jersey, where he opened the Avon Inn,” recalled Maloney of the old Victorian hotel on the beach at Avon by the Sea one with a restaurant, multiple bars, and live entertainment. And although Maloney never made use of his degree, he did follow his dad’s lead in the restaurant and bar industry, where he’s been for the last 27 years. For the past four of those, he’s helmed the bar at Campagnola on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, an Italian restaurant that’s been a neighborhood institution since 1984. It’s a place where, as its site reads, “plates are meant to be shared, and elbows are meant to be touched.”
He reminisced about eating there for the first time in 1993, long before he began his term at the bar. “Campagnola has a real history,” said the bartender of the cozy spot two blocks from the East River. “The front door creaks when you open it. There’s a baby grand on the right. The place is beautiful. It’s nice and easy and fun…a classic New York restaurant, and one of the greatest places I’ve ever worked.” Maloney began honing bartending skills fresh out of college. His father’s friend, Steve McFadden, hired him to work at Ryan McFadden’s on Second Avenue and 42nd Street (now known as McFadden’s), another iconic New York location. He never looked back.
“I can make any drink,” he said, with an air of confidence that also stems from his 20 years at the W Hotel, which had an extensive cocktail menu. When it comes to what’s trending, Maloney explained that tequila isn’t what it used to be. Nowadays, it’s more refined, thanks to the spirit world becoming more celebrity driven, associated with marquee names like hair icon Paul Mitchell, inventor Elon Musk, and actors George Clooney and Ryan Reynolds.
“When Sex and the City was popular, I made at least ten to 20 Cosmos a day,” he noted, adding that martinis will always be a mainstay and that brown liquor has made a strong comeback. Within the last category, Maloney’s take on the Old Fashioned involves muddling cherries and oranges, then adding bitters and simple syrup to Maker’s Mark Bourbon, for a tasty concoction.
“If you’re considering a career in bartending, make sure you’re in the right spot,” he advised. “I’ve been doing this for a long time and it’s not a bad life; you meet exciting people who share their experiences with you. I’m very lucky to be here and enjoy interacting with people. Every day I get to meet someone new. I met my best friend while bartending over 20 years ago. Now I’m the godfather of his twins.”
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