Some might recognize Alex as the smiling face that greets you when you first enter Virago. Her passion is evident as she escorts you to the table, preparing you for the exciting dining experience ahead.
Introducing Alex Bailey, Virago’s lead reservationist. For six and a half years, Alex has played an integral role in the M Street DNA. From enhancing the guest experience to creating lasting relationships with colleagues and guests alike, Alex serves as a role model for the entire M Street family.
Describe your journey with M Street.
When I was a senior in college, I was searching for something to occupy my time. I love to be busy, so I decided to look on Craigslist for job postings. There, I found an advertisement for a host position and applied without even knowing what restaurant it was. My interview went well, and the HR Director decided to place me at Virago, which was at the old location (Midtown Nashville) at the time.
I worked at Virago through my graduation. I also hosted at Whiskey Kitchen at the same time during lunch shifts. While I was at Virago, I became really close to the people I worked with. I felt like we were one big family and I developed a strong connection with Virago. When I graduated I was toying with the idea of leaving the restaurant for a temporary job. Virago was like my family. I had made such an investment in my coworkers and felt vested in the success of the restaurant; I just couldn’t leave.
One of the people I became close with at Virago was Jaime, who currently works as the lead reservationist at Saint Anejo. When she left Virago to move to Saint Anejo, the General Manager at the time knew I was ready for something different, so I took over the lead reservationist role at Virago. I have really developed the role into a managerial position which has helped me gain great leadership skills over the years.
What is your favorite part about working at M Street?
Definitely the culture. I take my job and everything that we have to offerseriously and professionally, and our leaders have helped to create that. I love being a part of something where we receive so much support from our leaders. They have given me countless opportunities and have always believed in me.
What gets me excited in the morning is knowing that I get to do something I truly enjoy. The most rewarding thing about my job is that I can go above and beyond more than a typical host does. I have made lasting relationships and friends with not only my colleagues but also the guests who dine with us.
Who are some of your mentors?
I have a few. First is Oleg (Virago’s Assistant General Manager). He started a couple of months after I did, so we’ve been along the same journey together. He has been a constant for me and is always such a great resource for how to handle situations because of his extraordinary experience. He’s really taken me under his wing since the beginning.
Another mentor is Eric Martino (our Director of Operations). He has helped create an amazing culture for our company and develop this company into what it is today.
Jamie and Erin (our Director of Strategy & Projects and the Director of Human Resources, respectively) have been a great addition to the M Street team. They have brought so much to the table and are great female resources.
Lastly, I would say Andrew (Virago’s Executive Chef). We start the day at Virago early in the morning and have developed an awesome relationship. We mesh really well together and can always find something to chat about. I always enjoy learning about food from him and watching his creative mind come up with exciting new dishes for the Virago menu.
What is your favorite Virago memory?
Wow, there are so many. Recently, one of my hosts came up to me to tell me that a pair of guests she was seating had just left another restaurant because it was their anniversary and were having a terrible experience. I let the Sean (Virago’s manager) know, and we ended up taking care of their whole dinner and giving them an unforgettable experience. The woman left crying and was so thankful for our hospitality. The situation showed me how teamwork helps us achieve our ultimate goal which is to give our guests a great experience and a memory they’ll always remember.
What is your favorite menu item?
That is the hardest question ever! There are so man amazing options. Our menu is so diverse, too. If you don’t want sushi, you can have steak, chicken, brussel sprouts, or evenpop rocks.
My favorite sushi roll is the Tanto just because I love everything about it. It has salmon, tuna, and lobster in it, how can you get better than that? I love the sake steamed brussels. When we first added them to our menu I absolutely had to learn how to make them. They go well with so many dishes and I'm constantly craving them.
What’s your favorite Virago drink?
The Watermelon Mojito. There’s nothing like sitting on the patio enjoying the beautiful view on a warm summer day with a cool drink like the Watermelon Mojito.
I’ve also learned so much about sake working here. I love priding ourselves in saying that we have the biggest sake selection in the southeast. Oleg has done such a great job of creating sake tastings and classes.
What are your outside hobbies?
I love to cook. I’ve definitely been inspired by our restaurants. My appreciation for food has stemmed from being a part of M Street. I like to be innovative with my recipes and try different things. I also love listening to all types of music. My favorite band is Moon Taxi (her husband is the keys player!)
Alex's dedication to the M Street family is truly remarkable. Her spirit and thirst for knowledge is ever-growing and we cannot wait to watch her develop along her path with M Street.