Meet the newest member of our Jester King management team - Justin Maniar. Justin has worked for Jester King for about five months now. In addition to his role as front of house/tasting room manager, he supports our merchandise program and serves as our wine program curator. Find out more about Justin in this Jester King Staff Spotlight:
Meet Front-of-House Manager Justin Maniar
What is your background?
I have been in the hospitality industry on and off for fourteen years now, starting in 2006 when I was in college. My first job was at a family-owned Italian restaurant in Arizona called Rigatony's. That's where I had my first exposure to the ever fun and sometimes chaotic world of food and beverage and fell in love with it.
Since then I have had the opportunity to travel the world, go to culinary school, and bartend and manage at various restaurants in Arizona, Texas, Alaska and California. Most recently, I was working at Fixe in downtown Austin and then in September had the awesome opportunity to start at Jester King!
What attracted you to working at Jester King?
I had been a guest at Jester King previously and always loved the vibe and esthetic of the place. It had the perfect balance of great beer, food, fun, and a great setting in the Texas Hill Country.
Since then I had heard from friends and colleagues about what a great place it was to work. When the opportunity came up to work at Jester King I couldn't turn down the opportunity to work in that kind of setting.
What does our philosophy of “time, place and people” mean to you?
It is the basis of everything we do at Jester King. Our beer, food, wine, service, setting etc. is all tied to a time and place and is inextricably tied to the people involved in making it, sourcing ingredients, etc. It is all intertwined in every element of our job.
What do you love most about working at Jester King?
The natural setting and great people. Nothing beats driving out of the hustle and bustle of central Austin and ending up at work in a relaxed, calming, and beautiful natural setting. Once at work we also work with the best team in the industry!
What are a few of your favorite Jester King beers? A few of your favorite food menu items?
I am loving the pure culture beers we are producing. Our DDH IPAs have been amazing as well the Munich-style Helles Lager. The recently released collaboration with Birds Fly South, the Keel Cut IPA, is amazing as well. It is the perfect balance of everything I like and is super interesting and innovative. Food-wise, I think our pizza rivals some of the best in Austin. Nothing beats the Luca! Also, gotta say, our olives are a sleeper on the menu. Holy moly -- those are good.
What else do you enjoy drinking?
Wine! Give me some good Loire Chenin Blanc and I am a happy camper.
WHO OR WHAT INSPIRED YOU IN YOUR CAREER?
So many people at all steps along the way! Cant even say. Just in general my passion for the wine and food, and also how that encourages travel and exploring and learning new places, people and cultures.
WHAT'S YOUR BACKGROUND (RELATED TO WINE AND CULINARY ARTS)?
I managed a bar at a remote lodge in Alaska and created the wine and cocktail program there. I was involved in the wine buying program at Fixe. I have attended culinary school at ACC here in Austin. I have completed my introductory sommelier certification through the Court of Master Sommeliers as well as participated in deductive tasting workshops with them. I am continuing my studies in that to hopefully test soon for my Certified Sommelier level 1.
What's some of your favorite wines? wine producers?
Uff, that's a tough question. I love just about everything and love trying new wines, styles, regions, etc. If I had to narrow it down I would say Loire Valley wines are what I would drink. Chenin Blanc or Cab Franc is where it's at.
What’s on your bucket list?
Oh boy, this could go on and on. Travel! Next up on my list is Patagonia, Egypt, and Jordan. I also want to buy a beach house/vacation home in Brazil and just split time between there and Austin. Some day!
Where would your wine travels take you in a post-pandemic world?
Portugal! I also really want to visit Champagne.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
Run, hike, swim in any water I can find, and dine out at really cool places.
I Can’t Live Without:
My cat Buddy! He's so cool.