When most people quit the service industry in their early twenties, Rachel Hogenstad decided bartending would be something she made a career out of. Now at the age of 35, she is a hometown celebrity with a young soul and free spirit.
Twenty years ago, Rachel obtained her first job in the service industry as a cashier at Chic-Fil-A. She later became a hostess at Bubba’s cajun restaurant, and then at Outback Steakhouse. Within one year she worked her way from hostess, to server, to trainer. Rachel remained working at Outback Steakhouse for five years, where she made life-long friends. She heightened her success further when she acquired a job at Aficionados, a fine dining restaurant. She was hired as a server, but within two months she was promoted to a bartending position. Here is where the legend of “The Rachel Hogenstad” began.
Rachel immediately fell in love with bartending, and she was GREAT at it. Within six months, she became assistant manager; three years later, she was running the place. Rachel was responsible for compiling a wine list of 120 wines. Rachel states, “It was time consuming, took extensive research, and several wine tastings (which she didn’t mind).” She also had to pair these wines with the food on the menu, do inventory each week, and book musicians for the lounge. After seven years of employment at Aficionados, Rachel left due to new ownership.
The same week Rachel quit her job, seven business owners asked her to run their bars. Her co-worker, Rory Eschete stated, “Rachel is an easy person to get along with and makes everyone feel welcomed. She knows the industry well and is the perfect candidate to run a service industry business.”
Rachel says her favorite aspect of bartending is the money and friends that she makes. She says that the money supports her obsession of seeing Dave Matthews Band live at least twice a year. The age span of her friends ranges from 18-65, which she says allows her to remain young. Rachel says, “I love bartending because it is fun. It’s not like being at work. It is basically like socializing and getting paid to do it.” Rachel loves being able to make up new recipes such as Rae Rae’s Lemonade, a cocktail named after her.
Rachel is a local celebrity in downtown Houma. Her co-worker Mikey Valencia stated, “It is amazing to see how many people know Rachel. One out of every five patrons will walk in and ask for Rachel. It happens all night long.”
Rachel says she may only have a year left of bartending, but she will always remember her good times behind the bar!