Melissa began her career in hospitality as a bagger in a grocery store. It is not exactly what got her the job,but almost… Melissa joined and rose through the ranks at The Blue Room the old fashioned way—she earned it. First as a server, then as a cellar assistant, to hospitality manager and finally to land in the role of General Manager. With her favorite movie as inspiration, Melissa roams the dining room like Zoolander— with a little Blue Steel and some serious omniscience Melissa makes even the most awkward situation feel good. Oh,and don’t be intimidated by her height, she makes up for it in lack of coordination considering in her six years here she’s visited the emergency room four times.
Joe Guarino | Executive Chef
Fondly referred to as "Joey-G" by those who know him well, he is certainly that adorable Italian-American kid from the 'hood. Yet, while he's Italian-American, his parents are wholly Avellino born. At an early age, staring over a steaming bowl of handmade ravioli, Joe decided he'd set his sights on Johnson & Wales, and follow that training up with a four year run in the Navy, all so he could impart those ravioli dreams as Chef to the White House. Thankfully, he got sidetracked working for such greats as Todd English and Barbara Lynch. On any given day off, you can find Joe at home with his pups Mortadella + Salami, making meatballs and watching Top Gun.
Josie Barbosa | Manager
Josie takes hospitality seriously because for as long as she's been working with us (and that's going on almost seven years now) she's been the fine recipient of her Grandma's jaw-droopingly good Cape Verdean cooking and open-armed welcome for whomever passes through. We have been lucky enough to convince Josie to stick around after she started here as a back server and proceeded to make her way through every FOH position before becoming a full-fledged manager. Josie loves to talk about wine and the finer points of how it is made, but really loves to talk fashion too. Josie's favorite pairing: orange wine and orange pumps.
Ryan Poutré | Sous Chef
Another Johnson + Wales alum, Ryan came to us by way of Julian's in Providence. So, how does a young, hip looking guy with a flare for the unique find a place like The Blue Room? He admitted he knew Julia Child dined here many an evening and wanted to be a part of that legacy. He is also fond of all things French, as it's his heritage, and he makes it clear sporting a fennel bulb tattoo (n'est-ce pas?). On his days away he goes to punk shows and cooks a mean fried chicken because it's all he ever wants to eat on his days off and for that, we don’t blame him. We do however blame him for making us say "mysost".
Nick Zappia | Owner
Most nights of the week Nick Zappia can be spotted crisscrossing the floor of The Blue Room. No surprise, as he’s the restaurant’s starship commander, mother hen and unfailing inspiration,a man who can’t help but take care that every patron and employee is coddled and content. He knows the space well,having owned the restaurant once in part, now wholly, for nineteen years. Nick fine-tuned his service chops in Providence’s burgeoning culinary scene,at Johnson & Wales,and finally Cambridge’s celebrated East Coast Grill.When it comes to his other passions, golf and cassoulet, he is hardly a mother hen. He once drove a golf ball through the windshield of a 1975 Pontiac Malibu, costing him two months of hard-paperboy cabbage.
Liz Vilardi | Owner + Wine Director
Liz Vilardi is a natural fit in the positions of Blue Room Owner and Wine Director, given that as a discerning youth she refused ham sandwiches in favor of escargot and duck confit, and held Kool Aid in withering disdain (holding out, no doubt, for a Jeroboam of 1977 Chateau d’Yquem). Lucky girl: she had a doting, gourmand father! Stints at Boston College and the Cambridge School of Culinary Arts further refined Vilardi' enviable palate and managerial prowess. And finally she’s come around to ham sandwiches, albeit with Spanish Jabugo, acorn-and a thick slather of French butter. Kool Aid? No way, not ever.