GENERAL MANAGER, TINOS KITCHEN + BAR
Circa 1985, a teenaged Michael Gehron’s first taste of the restaurant world was working into the early morning hours as a busboy at a Cheesesteak and Hoagie joint in Philadelphia, “Billy Bobs!”, he animatedly exclaimed while laughing when asked to recount his first restaurant job.
Gehron’s next chapter would land him studying at Temple University where he resumed restaurant work, part-time. The next few years were spent exploring roles in the restaurant industry. From Line-Cook to Host, Bartender to Wait Staff, Gehron bounced between chain restaurants, namely UNOS, among others.
With Gehron’s 24thbirthday came the decision to pursue hospitality full-time and triggered the decision to uproot his life from Philly and head to the big city- NY, New York!
“I had no idea what I was in for. It was New York, it was competitive. I applied to a fine dining restaurant and quickly realized I was in over my head- I wasn’t there… yet.” Michael recounts, “Soooo, I landed myself back at UNOS with my tale between my legs.”
It was his neighborhood watering hole on the Upper West Side that turned out to be Gehron’s watershed, Raccoon Lodge. A robust neighborhood bar filled with spirited regulars, Raccoon Lodge, had a family of “misfit” employees. When a bartending position became available, Gehron wanted in.
“I applied seven times before I was hired,” Gehron remembers. “A busy neighborhood bar in NYC, at 25, this was my dream job! It’s also where I met my wife.”
Flash forward to a quick stint in Cape Cod and one kiddo later, Gehron and his family returned to New York City. This time fully knowing he was ready to dive in to the more refined side of New York City Hospitality. Everything that had once intimidated the 24-year-old transplant from Philly was now invigorating.
Gehron quickly secured a bartending and waiter position at the widely known Italian restaurant, Carmines in bustling Times Square. Still eager to try his hand in fine dining Gehron took a bartending position at James Beard Award Nominee, Tom Valenti’s, Ouest. In his first year with Ouest, Gehron was hand selected to be a part of the opening team for Valenti’s newest restaurant venture, ‘Cesca.
Gehron’s role was to work collaboratively in elevating the bar service and menu to be aligned with the high expectations set forth by the NYC James Beard Award Nominated Owner and Chef. Feeling inspired and tasked with creating the Cocktail List, Gehron’s creativity took flight. He sought out ingredients at Witch Shops, applied his knowledge and passion for craft cocktails, developed a deep love for Amaro, and most importantly he wholeheartedly produced his first cocktail list. It’s safe to say that Gehron and the rest of the team delivered, ‘Cesca earned a James Beard Nomination for Best New Restaurant- New York City.
Since departing New York City and relocating to Portsmouth, NH Gehron has been credited by Local Food and Drink Journalist, Rachel Forrest with, … “bringing us the sparks of the craft cocktail “movement”.
It was during this transition where Gehron felt his beverage knowledge and creativity flourish, “Coming from New York where you can find anything, I was really forced to create my own ingredients because I couldn’t find them. I would shop the Mustard Seed for herbs and spices and Chefs were pleasantly surprised when I would ask if I could use ingredients from their walk-ins to make drinks.
After multiple managerial roles in the Seacoast New Hampshire restaurant scene, including serving the movers and shakers of Portsmouth as Beverage Director of the exclusive One Hundred Club, Gehron was connected with Tinos’ owner, John Tinios.
Tinos Kitchen + Bar is Gehron’s fourth restaurant he has had a role in opening. Starting as Beverage Director and now General Manager, when asked the appeal of this position Gehron answered, “It’s the combination of having creative control, the concept of the restaurant and the talent here. It’s also working for an owner that is well known and respected in the area; someone who stands behind his businesses. It’s all of it.”