Q&A with Casey Letellier
Where did you grow up?
Mountain Lake, Minnesota
What brought you to Arkansas?
John Brown University. And I met my wife Traci there. Siloam is her hometown, which is fun. I introduce myself to Siloamers as “the son-in-law of Larry Manos the band director” and instantly have local credibility.
What was your favorite food when you were 5?
My mom made these delicious things called Moon Balls: peanut butter, graham crackers, raisins, and sesame seeds.
What’s your favorite food now?
It is agony to pick a favorite. I just love food. If I have to pick one thing, I’m going to say duck.
What is your go-to meal when you’re exhausted from a long day’s work?
Popcorn! My dad made stovetop popcorn almost every night, and that still feels like what makes sense when I’m too tired to think. It’s an infinite platform for other fun flavors, too. Butter, lime and habanero jam; butter, maple syrup, and smoked sea salt... whatever comes to mind and is on hand.
How did you come to be Head Drinks Enthusiast at 28 Springs?
When 28 Springs was still in the brainstorming phase, the owners asked me to write a proposal for what my ultimate bar would look like. Seven single-spaced pages of bold dreams later, I handed off what would become known as my “manifesto.” And when I was offered the job of making the proposal a reality, none of the usual job titles seemed to fit with what I was doing, so I decided to write my own.
If you weren’t Head Drinks Enthusiast, what would you be?
I’d be a brewer. I love making beer. And there is some overlap between that and what I do now. To make a great restaurant, you do your best to set the stage for things to work. But until it is filled with people, and community begins to happen in the space, it isn’t real. Same thing for brewing. You mash, you sparge, you boil; you do everything in your power to be technically excellent, but it isn’t beer until yeast transforms it. It’s humbling, scary. A wonderful holy mystery. And that makes it worth doing.