“Located in a 19th century mill building, Birroteca is the destination for modern, rustic Italian cuisine crafted using ingredients sourced from local ranchers, farmers and seafood vendors. Guests enjoy communal dining service in a refined, casual setting. There are more than 24 craft beers on tap in addition to a focused Italian wine list and a selection of unique craft cocktails prepared with artisan distilled spirits and house-made mixes. Come taste why Birroteca has quickly achieved top standing in The Baltimore Sun, Baltimore magazine, City Paper and more.”
Name of Restaurant: Birroteca
Name of Interviewee: Christopher Rivera, Manager
Address: 1520 Clipper Rd
Food Served / Specialty: Local, Italian, Craft Beer, Artisan Liquor
BmoreArt: Why do you show local art?
Christopher Rivera: We show local art because that’s who we employ, local artists. I can spend hours trying to find other artists in Baltimore, or I can promote the work of my employees. It keeps my staff morale high, and it also gives them a sense of pride in their job and in the building itself.
B: What type of artwork do you show?
CR: We show pieces on canvas in our upstairs dining room. One of my hostesses, Liza, is very talented with chalk and spray paint. She does all of our specials, our beer lists, our Charcuterie Board selections, and even a gigantic squid mural on our back wall in the patio. One of my servers, Erin, has a degree in graphic design and she designs our ads that you see in Baltimore Magazine. They even help with my menu design and flyers for events.
B: What was one of your favorite (or crowd pleasing) exhibit in the space?
CR: The squid mural is probably my favorite piece in the building. It’s not the most sophisticated piece of art in the past twenty years, but for lack of a better reason, it’s just plain bad-ass.
B: How do the arts, and locally owned restaurants, enhance life and culture in Baltimore?
CR: I’m not the most art-sophisticated person, but I can tell you what I feel as a patron and as a manager of restaurants.
I think the most important enhancement that local artists bring is the fact that through their work, they can provide a common ground for a melting pot of strangers that exists in every city. So many people from so many backgrounds can come together and see and be part of the community through the artist’s vision. If Birroteca can provide an establishment where people can come and dine on local, absolutely delicious food and also come together under one roof to enjoy and take in what my staff has to offer, then I think that we’re doing our part as a local business. We care what the community thinks of us, and we care about our staff through thick and thin. We even try to get the community involved in our passion by providing them with pencils to draw with during their meals. We then take the drawings we like and frame them and put them on the wall making them part of our establishment.
B: Who are your favorite artists in Baltimore? Can be visual, theatrical, musical, etc.
CR: My background in art is that of a Classical Trombonist. In my past life, I was a full time musician, earning my wage by freelancing with local groups and teaching privately throughout Howard County and Baltimore City. My favorite musical group is hands down The Baltimore Symphony. They’ve been in financial turmoil since I’ve been in Baltimore, about 12 years now. Throughout that time, they’ve held it together and come together as a group to fight their way through while doing concerts every Thurs-Sun. They’ve taken pay cuts, they’ve gone on strike, they’ve done tours to promote the Orchestra, and most recently, they started the ORCHkids program. Talk about local Artists giving back to the community. This is one of the best outreach programs I’ve ever seen. I have 5 or 6 friends that are key ORCHkids employees, and they love their job and they love the kids. I truly hope that the Symphony stays strong and is a part of Baltimore community for as long as they possibly can.
Birroteca is located at 1520 Clipper Rd in Hampden.
You can find out more at their website here.
This interview was conducted by Lauren Van Slyke, Marketing Director at BmoreArt.