KAREN ANN KING
Wine Director, Union Square Café, NY
1995:
Became wine director, responsible for Union Square Café's award-winning wine list


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, Massachusetts and moonlighted at night as a waitress. Eventually Karen returned to the restaurant world full time. Karen moved to New York City to pursue an acting career, but after a year decided that acting was not for her. Still loving New York City, she stayed in the restaurant business. Union Square Cafe opened in 1985 and Karen has been a dedicated member of the team since its inception. 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. As well as elevating to New York's favorite restaurant in the 1997, 1998, 1999 & 2000 Zagat Survey. A major part of the restaurant's success is its wine program. Karen is a big advocate of educating the staff and holds wine tastings every three weeks. Karen has taught wine classes at NYU and for the Sommelier Society. Giving wine presentations and classes are some other favorite activities. Sharing her enthusiasm about wine is definitely one of her strong points. 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 by the James Beard Foundation.