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@Work: Bacchus

May 24, 2005 – Katherine Pugliese, who owns and operates Bacchus restaurant in Christiansted with he husband Frank, says some things in life just work out naturally.
This was the case, she says, for her to end up where she is now. "I can't imagine doing anything else in life but running a restaurant."
Life was not always so obvious, though.
Pugliese went to college and studied performing arts. She moved to St. Croix in 1991 and one of her first jobs was bussing tables and working in the kitchen at Tutti Bene's, which, at that time, was still located on Company Street.
Her husband's family had been on St. Croix since 1982. He moved to Hawaii from 1991 to 1994. When he came back he continued his trade, being a chef, at Tuttu Bene's. The couple met, one thing lead to another, they were married, and in 1997 they opened Bacchus.
The name of the restaurant was also one of those natural things. Bacchus is the Roman god of revelry and wine. Katherine says, "I wanted the name to reflect something I am passionate about, and I am passionate about wine."
She continues to read as much as she can about wine, and wine tastings are a common event at Bacchus. Six times the restaurant has won awards from Wine Spectator for its lists.
"I love my job. I love coming here every day," she says.
However, that does not make her averse to change. Actually, Bacchus is on the market now. Pugliese does not know if anything will happen soon. She says, "It will take a special person to buy and run this business."
Looking ahead to the possible arrival of that "special person," She says, "The next big thing in our life is undetermined." She won't concede, however, that this is her last restaurant, nor does she believe she will be leaving St. Croix. "My heart is here." she says.
But until that next big change, she will be working just about every day at Bacchus, which is located on the second floor at 52 Queen Cross St. between Strand and King streets.
Including the owners, 12 people are employed at the restaurant and one feels a friendly atmosphere on entering. The food is sophisticated but the atmosphere light, and a good time appears to be the foremost goal for all.
The couple say they started the business "pretty much from scratch," and needless to say, it wasn't easy. "For the first few years we were not on the circuit. We weren't one of the restaurants you had to stop at if you were in St. Croix for a week. Now we are."
However, it is the local clientele that appears to really please her. She says, "there is no higher compliment then people seeing what you do, liking it and coming back."
Although she says she has never returned to the performing arts she studied in school, she has always been interested in physical fitness and may turn her focus in that direction.
Her husband has run in races on the island and was a finisher in the recent Half-Ironman. She says she plans to get into training with him.
The restaurant is open six to nine every evening but Monday. The phone number is 692-9922.

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