Union Square Café
21 East 16th Street
New York, NY
Karen Ann King started working in restaurants as a college student in
Nashville, Tennessee. After receiving her Bachelor's degree in Social
Sciences, she taught elementary school in Boston and moonlighted at
night as a waitress. She later moved to New York City to pursue an acting
career, but after a year decided that acting was not for her. Having
fallen in love with New York, she stayed to work in the restaurant business.
Karen has devoted herself to Union Square Cafe since it opened in 1985.
She began as a server, moved on to bar manager, and in 1995 became wine
director, responsible for Union Square Cafe's award-winning wine list.
Union Square Cafe was honored as the Perrier Outstanding Restaurant
by the James Beard Foundation in 1997, and has reigned as New York's
favorite restaurant in the 1997, 1998, 1999 and 2000 Zagat Surveys.
A major part of the restaurant's success is its wine program, which
Karen has advanced in part by holding staff wine tastings every three
weeks. One of her favorite activities is giving wine classes, which
she has taught at New York University and for the Sommelier Society
of America. Karen is known for her very personable yet knowledgeable
approach to wine service. In 1998, Union Square Cafe was one of five
restaurants in the United States nominated by the James Beard Foundation
for best wine service. In 1999, Union Square Cafe won the Hudson Valley
Foie Gras Outstanding Wine Service Award from the James Beard Foundation.