Ever since he was a young boy in Dresden, Ontario (think mega city of 2600 with one stop light), Ron has dreamt of growing some long hair and opening a restaurant. (Check and check!)
It was while drinking his way through an undergrad at Wilfrid Laurier University that Ron first began bartending, and it wasn’t long before he found you can learn a lot more about how to succeed in life behind a bar than you can in any stinkin’ classroom…am I right?! Go Hawks!
His new-found love for slinging liquors took him to Greece, London, Sydney, and Atlanta, before finally pitching his tent in Vancouver in 2003. He was quickly taken under the wing of an enigmatic Aussie bartender who was more than happy to mentor him and teach him everything there is to know about Coughlin’s Law. Cocktails & Dreams was soon born!
After managing the bars at La Terrazza, Lucy Mae Brown, Century House – where he met Simon in 2006 – and Blue Water Cafe, Ron was inspired to leave the only industry he had ever known to pursue a two-and-a-half-year stint as Canadian Brand Ambassador for Maker’s Mark bourbon. Having been let go in early 2010 for selling entirely too much bourbon and generally being too successful in the position, Ron was approached by local notable Josh Pape and asked to become a part of the team at The Diamond, thereby returning him to the industry. He would make a cocktail or two there over the next three years.
But healthy ambition and (misplaced?) confidence led Ron to believe he could venture out on his own. He brought this idea of independence to Simon, and Mamie Taylor’s was born.
Simon grew up on the right side of the tracks in Ottawa. He grew up tall and he grew up right, with them Indiana boys on an Indiana night.
At the tender age of 15 he began his illustrious career in the sullied kitchens of some of the capital’s most mediocre restaurants. And in 1999, having been adequately brainwashed by the kitchen set, he set off for London to chase the fame and fortune of being an unappreciated line cook. He very quickly realized, however, that the money and women were better on the right side of the bar, and so his fate was forever changed, and the world’s with it.
He did however try his hand at a couple of other careers – most notably a retiree in SE Asia and a ski bum in New Zealand – but couldn’t deny the siren song of tending bar for long, and so landed in Vancouver in 2005 with a corkscrew in his hand, a glint in his eye, and a ruddy, rosy cheek. (But seriously, rosacea is no joke).
Simon bounced around the scene in Terminal City for some time, with stops at some of the city’s best establishments (albeit, some for a very short amount of time) Century House, West, Chambar & Captain Jack’s Gill and Flipper before finding himself under the guidance of Neil Ingram and Mark Brand at Boneta, where he spent the last five years proving himself as the perverted yet professional individual that he is now known as.
He was lured out of his comfortable life and into his first foray as an independent restaurateur, into opening Mamie Taylor’s, by his partner and friend Ron, with the promise of fast cars and even faster women and a three-day work week. Damn you to hell, Ron Oliver.