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January 23, 2017

New Sweet beverage director hopes to raise the bar

PHOTO/LAURA FINALDI Ryan Goodpseed, beverage director, Sweet Kitchen & Bar

Veteran bartender and beverage consultant Ryan Goodspeed has advised cruise ships, Fortune 500 companies, restaurants and others on their drink programs. Now, the Central Massachusetts native is back at home and has been tasked with amplifying the bar program at Sweet Kitchen & Bar on Shrewsbury Street.

Goodspeed left the Worcester area when he was 20 to go to college in Santa Barbara, Calif., before moving to Los Angeles for three years, and finally to Miami, where he worked for over seven years as beverage director for Genuine Hospitality Group, a recipient of the prestigious James Beard Award.

Family reasons brought him back to the Worcester area, and while looking for jobs, he found an advertisement for a bartender at Sweet. After a conversation with Executive Chef Alina Eisenhauer, he read between the lines and saw she was actually looking to elevate the restaurant as a whole.

“I was starting to feel like, 'You placed an ad for a bartender, but this is like a whole other thing you're talking about,'” said Goodspeed, who joined Sweet in December.

By raising the level of the food, the beverage program, the service and the profile of its event space, Eisenhauer hopes Sweet will start to become more widely recognized as a full-service restaurant – not just a place to grab dessert.

“This is a big piece of making that happen – elevating everything, starting with the beverage program,” she said. “We're bringing wine service, dinner service, everything to a new level and making this a full service restaurant that can stand up to other full service restaurants in the city.”

He may have come back to the area for personal reasons, but Goodspeed said he's excited to be a part of the burgeoning Worcester restaurant scene.

“I'm happy to be here and would love to make good use of my time by bringing any and all experience and awareness to the scene here,” he said.

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