John Gertsen of No. 9 Park
No. 9 Park
9 Park Street
Boston, MA 02108
An after-school job as a “dishwasher/busboy/prep cook/slave” at the age of fifteen exposed John Gertsen to the addictive buzz of restaurant life. While at college, he studied biology and chemistry by day but served as a wine steward at an exclusive underground wine society and held various front-of-house positions at area restaurants during evenings and summers throughout those four years. As a wine steward, John was, for the first time, exposed to the pomp and circumstance that fine wines (and oenephiles) could demand and was inspired. For someone who had grown up with dinner coming out of jars and frozen boxes, being exposed to cuisine and fine dining was absolutely enlightening. A post-graduate year in Africa allowed John to debate a future in the bio-tech field versus where his heart was – and the heart won.
Returning to the States, John assumed roles at restaurants in Boston, settling at Salamander under Chef Stan Frankenthaler. During his five year stint, John served as maitre d’, bartender, and front of house coordinator. Frankenthaler served as his first mentor, and John valued this chef for his creativity and skill. He was able to explore his love for the industry during his time at Salamander and learn to trust his instincts which had brought him to this place.
In 2002, John joined the staff at No. 9 Park as a Principle Bartender. Here he found a setting to develop professionally and a second mentor in Chef Barbara Lynch. Working with bar manager Ryan McGrale, the two have created a bar program at the restaurant which has gained national recognition and a loyal local following. Inspired by the era of the great cocktail, both have derived endless inspiration from the gay ‘90s, that is, the 1890s – a time when bartenders were showmen and the classic cocktails were invented. Fabulous ingredients, seasonal inspiration, and a tribute to the cocktails of the past keep drawing crowds as much as the gregarious nature of John and Ryan, the timeless ambience of the bar and café, and the excellent cuisine of No.9. Here, John has found great reward, pursuing what he loves and surrounded by equally passionate and driven people.