From Barstools to Ballots

Serving Drinks to Serving a Community

Hi! How are you today?

Silence, just a glare,  they put their head down and continue to talk with their friends not even acknowledging your existence. 

You feel like a peasant, there only to serve them, your existence seemingly for their convenience.

They are better than you.

Even after 20-plus years in the F&B industry, you don’t get used to this bullshit.

Fuck those people who think they’re superior.

I thought it might be the type of place I’ve worked at, but I’ve seen it at all levels of dining, from fast food to so-called fine dining. Some people are just assholes. 

And there is no better way to give them the proverbial middle finger than by succeeding.

 This is why I love watching  F&B’rs prevail.

Either by staying in F&B and using its unique opportunities to travel, raise a family, and do things we love or by moving on from F&B to do something remarkable.

And having the skills learned on the way help them get there.

I have some friends who have become lawyers (for some reason, lots of lawyers, lol),

Real estate agents who crush it, nurses, and doctors. I’ve even worked with someone who became a rockstar. And now I have a friend who is a mayor!

I love it!

Working in the food and beverage industry is more than just a job; it’s a masterclass in people skills and perseverance.

Those who have spent time behind a bar, waiting tables, or working in a hot kitchen know it’s a high-energy,

high-stress environment where one learns to think on their feet,

solve problems on the fly, and most importantly, interact with a myriad of personalities.

These quiet pillars of the service industry manage to keep their cool when the heat is on, mastering lessons that extend far beyond the kitchen.

One such story is of Kevin Phillips, a once-aspiring bartender who has taken the lessons from his days of mixing cocktails to mix it up in the

political arena as the mayor of Port Royal, South Carolina.

Kevin’s journey began in a small Italian restaurant.  Working every FOH position in the building, even helping out in the dish pit when it was necessary.

He particularly relished his time behind the bar. Taking care of people and engaging in conversation was and is still his specialty.

When I first met him, he was working as a server in a fine-dining restaurant while simultaneously attending law school.

Managing either of these demanding roles alone would be challenging, but handling both at the same time was truly impressive, not to mention the added social hours after work, which many in the industry partake in.

Despite his valiant efforts, the demanding lifestyle of the F&B industry wasn’t conducive to his academic aspirations.

He managed to keep up with both for a while, but eventually chose to solely pursue his law school dreams.

The late nights and social hours often conflicted with the early mornings required for his law studies.

During this period, while earning his law degree, he worked with Mike Seekings, a city councilman in Charleston, which further fueled his interest in public service.

Mike Seekings became his mentor of sorts, and this is when Kevin knew he wanted to go into politics.


In 2017, Kevin was admitted to the bar and moved to Beaufort, becoming an associate for Schiller & Hamilton Law Firm.

In 2019, he ran for and won a seat on the Port Royal Town Council.

While serving on the council, Kevin decided to throw his hat in the ring for the mayoral race, feeling a deep calling to serve his community at an even higher level.

His campaign was built on a recipe of dedication, integrity, and a vision for a better future for Port Royal.


Mayor Kevin !

Mayor Kevin ! | Image by Mayor Kevin !

In November 2023, after a hard-fought campaign and with overwhelming support from the community, Kevin Phillips was voted in as the new mayor of Port Royal

Proving that the right ingredients can lead to a winning dish​.(I know its a little cheesy)

Kevin believes strongly in the value of his F&B background. “I think everyone should work in F&B at some point in their lives,” he said.

When asked about his future aspirations, Kevin responded, “I’m only five months into my term and am only thinking about the present ”

With the recent addition to his family Kevin has his hands full.

The moral of the story is those that look down on F&B’rs have no idea what we’re capable of . In my completely biased opinion  most people couldn’t live a week in our shoes.  Maybe in 10 yrs or so I’ll be interviewing  the Kevin Phillips the newley elected President of the United States Of America.

He has my vote !