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PYSK: Frances Fujiko Harvey

PYSK: Frances Fujiko Harvey

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  • Photo by Keith Borgmeyer

Do you know Frances Fujiko Harvey? She’s the lead bartender at Barred Owl Butcher and co-conspirator of Fujiko Izakaya Pop Ups.

Job description
Crafting a delicious cocktail that suits what you want in the moment! 

Education
Bachelor of arts in human development and family science.

Professional background
After graduating from MU, I began bartending at Tropical Liqueurs downtown. If you know anything about Columbia, it’s that our community shows up for the football games, and I learned that quickly. There, I learned how to properly work a volume bar. 

Hometown
I don’t know if I can really call any one place my hometown. I was born in California but moved around a lot growing up. My mom, little sister, and I lived in Tokyo, Japan, for a couple of years with my grandparents, and shortly after that, I moved to Missouri. 

Years lived in Columbia
15 years. The longest I have ever stayed in one place!

Favorite Columbia hangout
If I’m in the mood for a quick meal, I’m heading to Beet Box. Amanda and Ben have figured out exactly what I want on the daily. The focaccia sandwich with soft scrambled eggs have my heart!

How you want to impact the Columbia community
A bartender impacting the community really means creating a fun place to have a drink and bites with friends and loved ones. 

A Columbia bartender you admire and why
Margaux Scott! She is a fellow rose and cocktail lover that is behind the bar at Flyover.

Why you are passionate about Barred Owl
I’m passionate about Barred Owl because it is passionate about Columbia. The owners care so much about our community that, as cheesy as it sounds, it’s hard for it not to rub off on you. Their commitment to knowing the farmers and using what’s in season all while still creating amazing food is what keeps me happiest about the company I work for! 

Why you are passionate about bartending
Bartending has created a space for me to make the guest happy. Whether that’s pouring a vodka soda with bitters or a taste of a Spanish malt whiskey that will confuse and elate you at the same time, I get to facilitate a space for people to relax, chill, party, and have a good time. 

What people should know about bartending
It’s harder than it looks. Bartending takes more than just multitasking — we want every guest to have the best experience they can. That can be very hard on a busy Friday night when it seems like I can barely see past the ice I’m scooping into a tin. Regardless, the end goal is that the guest enjoys their time up at the bar with us and enjoys the sips we created for them!

A bartending trend you’re watching
Some people may not like this answer, but I’m watching the low-ABV [alcohol by volume] trend. I love drinks that I can have more than two of.  Seems like every new drink I add to the menu is easy drinking, perfect for multiples, bubbly, and a little bitter. 

The next challenge facing bartending
Simply keeping up. There are so many new spirits being introduced, more styles of bartending every day, and with social media, the information travels so quickly from place to place. I think the biggest challenge is keeping up with what guests want and being able to provide it.

Proudest professional moment
I think it would have to be when my mom and sister saw an article on my pop-ups in a local magazine. My little sister said, “You look so confident!” That really resonated with me. I was always the shy one growing up, so hearing that from my sister was really great. 

Next professional goal
Adding more and more cocktails to the growing list at Barred Owl. I work with an incredibly talented group of people and getting to make drinks with them day in and day out is a lot of fun and very rewarding. 

If you weren’t bartending for a living, you would
Travel the U.S., camping all along the way. I mentioned earlier that Missouri is the longest I’ve ever stayed in one place. Well, Missouri also brought the outdoors to the forefront for me. I never camped growing up, but as many of you probably know, floating and camping is a summer way of life around here. And I’m hooked. If I wasn’t behind a bar slinging drinks, I’d probably be driving from place to place looking for the best waterways and campsites. 

Biggest lesson learned
The restaurant and bar industry isn’t the worst! I grew up working in a lot of service industry jobs, and if Barred Owl has taught me anything, it’s that if you’re working with a good group of people that work together and get along, the workplace can be a great environment. This is the first place that I truly feel like a part of a team, and it’s a place that does its best to give back to the community and to its employees. 

Greatest strength
I hope that my co-workers agree with me. I think my greatest strength is multitasking. I take pride in the fact that I know that every customer gets taken care of in a timely manner. That’s hard to do when you’re trying to pump out drinks as fast as possible, but hopefully everyone feels like they’re being taken care of when they sit down at the bar. 

Greatest weakness
I’m horrible with names! I’m surprised at how bad I am with them, but I am constantly trying to get better. I promise!

What you do for fun
Camping, yoga, yoga while camping? And kayaking.

What you do to relax
Journaling is a huge thing for me. It sounds silly, but even if it’s just a couple words about how my day went, it makes me feel a little better about how life is going.

Favorite community activity
Hands down the farmers market! Corrina Smith has helped create an amazing place for our local farmers to show off their harvest while also creating new things for the guests to look forward to every week. 

Favorite recent project
Watching the crowd grow for the pop-ups has been amazing. I have had such a good time making Japanese food, Japanese inspired cocktails, and watching people enjoy it all. I never would have thought that I would have a following like I do, and it’s been so much fun to watch it grow over time.

A personal or professional goal for 2020
Travel more! I also want to do more pop-ups and be inspired more often.

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