Brian Gibson is the general manager at bartaco Hilldale, a restaurant serving up big, bright flavors with influences taken from cuisines all over the globe. “The vibe is a taco truck in the middle of beach party,” he says. Learn about Brian Gibson…
Hometown: I was born in the Town of Oyster Bay in Long Island, NY, but I had the pleasure of growing up in Charlotte, NC.
First job: Oyster shucker at Boardwalk Billy’s Raw Bar at the age of 15.
Favorite ways to spend free time in WI: For me personally, food and beverage isn’t only my career—it has truly been a life’s passion. When not at the restaurant, I am always testing new food and cocktail recipes on my wife. We are always exploring new bars and restaurants all over the state, which has so much to offer. Outside of that, we spend a lot of time outdoors with the doggo who especially loves the snow, so this winter has been the best! She truly is the snowiest ‘lil puppy you’d ever meet.
Your biggest accomplishment and why: I would have to say becoming an eagle scout. The organization is unfortunately not as appealing to the newer generations, but it teaches you so many life skills and traits that I believe you truly need as an adolescent. Not only do you get the pleasure of exploring amazing terrain all over the country while learning skills that will benefit you forever, but it also teaches you how to truly live by the golden rule and to always help your neighbor.
The biggest obstacle you overcame: Finding the love of my life. I have been absolutely blessed to find my heart’s counterpart.
Someone who inspires you and why: My mom, Kelly Gibson, for sure. She taught me to always find the brighter side of any situation; that no matter how tough something might get, or how beaten down you may feel, things could always be worse—so just roll with it. She always showed me how to understand other people’s perceptions as their realities, and to not judge but understand.
Advice to someone pursuing a career path in what you do: Be patient. Being the general manager of a restaurant you need to understand that you are in the business of people as much as you are in the business of food and beverage. You must have a good understanding of human emotion and the psyche. The main trait that will make you successful is just being able to stay in control and positive in any situation because every day you will be presented with a new challenge that you had no idea you would have to face. On the other side, that is what makes it so incredibly fun and personally rewarding.
Favorite quote: “Your body is not a temple, it is an amusement park. Enjoy the ride.” –Anthony Bourdain
Something someone would be surprised to learn about you: It is surprising at first, but then will make total sense to you if you know me. Growing up, my mother was a clown.
What makes someone fabulous: There are so many things that make a person fabulous, but I think that it truly stems from a personal confidence that each individual must find for themselves. Being able to unapologetically laugh and smile in any situation definitely makes you fab in my opinion!