by Melissa LaScaleia
Amy Barnhart started working at Travinia Italian Kitchen and Wine Bar when the restaurant first opened in the Market Common in 2008. She was hired as a key manager and bartender, splitting her time between serving drinks and managing the restaurant. A month after Travinia opened, Ashley Thomas was hired as a bartender. The two had worked well together previously at the Islamoroda Fish Company; and over time, forged a stronger rapport as they implemented their shared vision of making Travinia feel like a homey, happy locale.
Over the course of the next two years, the two grew their careers at Travinia— Amy becoming the general manager, and Ashley the assistant general manager. They created a strong bond of inclusion with the community, and an atmosphere of welcome, ease, and conviviality pervaded at Travinia.
“We were very involved in the community,” Amy says. “We had regular wine dinners where we brought in a wine maker from Napa Valley or Oregon and offered a 5-6 course meal that was perfectly paired with the wines they grew. It was a really big hit with the community.
“We were involved with Breakfast with Santa, Breakfast with the Easter Bunny, the Princess Gala, local fundraisers— we supported projects. And any guest that came in was part of our family here.”
“A lot of the people who come to Travinia are locals,” Ashley says. ‘We were here for seven-and-a-half years. I spent more time with these people than my own family. We became a family, and they feel like my family.”