In a town known for F&B, Herbs & Rye is in a special place. It is where bartenders & servers can go to unwind, turn up, or just eat great food. Once a hidden gem, Herbs has now turned into a nationally acclaimed spot that is beloved by F&B professionals and civilians alike. Michelle Meyer is a big part of its success. She is a front-of-the-house manager who brings an earnest and welcoming vibe to the table. She has a certain sense of professionalism that is unmatched. More than that, she has been one of the pillars on which Herbs has been built. She is a constant support and inspiration for owner Nightclub & Bar magazine’s Bartender of the Year!!!! Nectaly Mendoza. If he is the mayor of our city’s bartenders, this would make Michelle our first lady.

How long have you been in Food & Beverage?

About 10 years; I started in 1998 at Olives in the Bellagio and worked there till 2002. I’ve also worked for the school district. When Herbs & Rye opened I came back to the industry.

Tell about the evolution of Herbs and Rye.

It was a struggle at first, I put up a fight and didn’t want to be involved due to that fact that it was going to be a change in my life; I don’t do well with change. With trials and tribulations I became open minded and let down my guard and now I enjoy being a part of the growth and development.

What’s the style of service at Herbs & Rye?

When you walk through the doors we look at it as you’re walking into our own home. We want everyone to feel welcome and just sit back relax and enjoy the experience. You come in as a stranger but leave as family.

Where else do you like to go out to eat/drink?

My favorite food is Mexican; I enjoy eating at Casa Don Juan, mostly for the homemade tortillas, chips and guacamole.

You are heavily involved in charity work. With which organization are you involved?

Well, three years ago, I got involved with an organization called St. Baldrick’s; it’s a foundation that helps childhood cancer patients. I raise money and shave my head. Here at the restaurant, Nectaly created an event called Barmania. It’s a bartending competition where bartenders from all over the country come dressed up like WWF wrestlers and compete. Whoever wins is crowned the best and gets the Golden Cock rooster trophy! All the proceeds go to the St. Baldrick’s Foundation.

Who are some people you look up to?

First, I would have to say my mom. She was young when she had me, and not only was she a mom to me, she was a mom to her two younger brothers. I might not have had all the finer things, but she made sure I had what I needed. I also look up to Nectaly; he’s an amazing person. Even though he was told no so many times and to just give up, he kept pushing forward to be what he has become today.

You are a manager in one of the most iconic and successful bars in the city/country, and a woman in a largely male dominated industry. Where do you see the role of women in F&B, present, past, and future?

Society, I feel, puts a lot of pressure on gender-based roles. It’s more of a challenge for women to be in leadership or positions of power due to the fact that women are looked at as being more sensitive or just a pretty face. I feel that if you have the knowledge, heart and dedication you can do or be anything you want regardless of your sex.