Despite his popularity and being voted the man behind La Fiesta’s popular margaritas is surprisingly mysterious.
Known to many as “Bartender Doyle,” the 45-year-old Edgewater resident is committed to providing patrons and guests everything their hearts desire—everything, but his first name.
Referred to by many as the “real owner” of La Fiesta’s, Doyle said he’s always gone by just his last name.
However, much like Kramer from the popular TV show Seinfeld—minus the sporadic hysterics—Doyle’s friends and colleagues have come to embrace him, forfeiting any hope of learning his first name.
La Fiesta’s official owner, Ram Kapoor, wouldn’t give up Doyle's first name but spoke highly of the man he hired as the bartender when the restaurant opened in 2006.
“Doyle is the real owner [of La Fiesta],” Kapoor said. “We listen to him. Everybody listens to him. Whatever you see here, it’s all because of him.”
As patrons trickle into the corner bar located off Central Avenue West in Edgewater near the Safeway, one could easily mistake Doyle as the actual owner of the restaurant. His name not only fills a neon-lit sign in the corner, but his name also dons the top of the bar, overlooking dozens of liquors and drink mixes.
Relatively soft-spoken with a sprinkle of grey in his short-cut hairstyle, Doyle began tending La Fiesta’s bar six years ago and has never looked back. He began working in construction but later moved to the food service industry as a waiter for Harry Browne’s in Annapolis. After a few years, Doyle sought additional employment during the summer months for what he thought would only be a seasonal position. He took a bartending job at La Fiesta and never returned to Harry Browne’s for a single shift.
“I love Harry Browne’s, it’s my favorite restaurant, but I started working here and meeting my neighbors and the people that I run into. I was like ‘Wow!’” Doyle said. “The money wasn’t better but it was better psychologically. I do believe I have the best customers of any bar in the area. My customer base is what really motivates me and keeps me interested.”
The Perfect Margarita
No matter how personable or friendly you are, Doyle said good bartending comes down to one thing—the drinks.
“I knew a lot about food and a lot about alcohol. It was a hobby of mine in college,” Doyle said with a smile. “In college, I was on a mission to learn how to make a great margarita.”
It wasn’t special training or bartending classes that helped Doyle find his “perfect” recipe. He said it really all came down to two things: seven trips to Mexico for spring break, and Patrón tequila.
Before working at La Fiesta, Doyle would mix various tequilas and juices as he tried to find the best possible mixture of flavors. He found a core recipe that created a decent margarita, but it wasn’t until La Fiesta that he learned his true appreciation for Patrón tequila.
“[My top-notch margarita] has Patrón Silver and Patrón Anejo. I combine them and I try to find other really good orange liqueurs. I add some lime juice, shake it up and pour a little Grand Marnier on the top—no sour mix,” Doyle said. “Patrón is it—that’s what really brought it all together … We sell more Patrón at this restaurant than anywhere in Maryland.”
The man Patch readers voted “Best Bartender” said his margarita is the reason for his success, but said the cost doesn’t hurt either. With a price of $9.95, Doyle’s top-quality margarita “gets the job done” without breaking the bank, he said.
Doyle said he hopes to one day own a restaurant of his own. If and when that happens, it’ll be a day La Fiesta’s owner won’t be looking forward to.
“We don’t want to be without him,” Kapoor said. “He comes up with all kinds of new ideas—creative ideas—and the menu on the drinks and everything. He takes so much pride in this place, even more than I do. I’m just very, very appreciative that he is with us.”
Similar to the popular bar-themed TV show Cheers, Edgewater’s “Best Bartender” invites everyone to come and enjoy a place where everybody knows your name—just don’t ask Doyle for his.