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Paulie’s Counter Culture – Eric Harris

Eric Harris was born in Houston, Texas in the Meyerland area. After a long childhood in China and experiences all around our great city, he once again lives in West Houston. He was a crafty child, eager to participate in every hands-on creative hobby (except quilting: “I got tired of measuring,” he says).

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Eric’s time in southeast China made him an independent and self-reliant person, allowing him to focus on his growing devotion to reading and crafting. He also gained an appreciation for Asian food, which he loves to this day (though his dad was a fan of the American barbecue place in the city). However, it was in high school that Eric’s love of food blossomed. With his new driver’s license and bright red coupe, Eric could traverse the city to look for the best Chinese cooking reminiscent of his childhood. He also found an appreciation for cooking at home. “I was particularly good at baking,” Eric says. “I was constantly making different types of breads and cookies for my friends.” He began creating great culinary experiences in unlikely places, once even bringing a meal from home to the Galleria ice rink for an impromptu picnic.

It was during this time that Eric’s coffee horizon expanded as well. Out of the house, Eric could pursue new beverages, and soon realized his love of espresso beverages. He began searching the city for the perfect cup of joe. Day after day, Eric and his friends packed into his coupe, making lists and googling new places through which to explore Houston’s cafe culture.

After high school, Eric enrolled in general classes at HCC, eager to figure out his passion. In fact, Eric wanted to start in fashion. Realizing this wasn’t a feasible option, Eric tried to connect another hobby of his with a possible future career. He began taking classes in Chemistry after realizing that he could expand his boundless knowledge of perfumes with a scientific background. In addition, Eric took classes in traditional Japanese tea ceremony, through which he performed at the Japanese Festival in Herman Park. During this time, he began working at Central Market in the fish department. Despite not being a huge fan of seafood, Eric was resourceful and made the most of his experience. “Being in the fish department and not liking fish gave me the confidence to conquer any challenge in the service industry,” says Eric. He moved to the bulk department, where he could learn more of the background of coffee roasting and tasting. He also learned about beer and wine from his coworkers, further expanding his beverage repertoire. He would later use this knowledge while working at Whole Foods Market and Triniti Restaurant.

Never one to give up on his hobbies, Eric is following his other, other, other passion: music. He was surrounded by music in childhood as his mom jammed Metallica while baking (though his first cd was Aquarium by Aqua). Now, Eric is becoming a DJ under the moniker Jarmangad.

Eric has fond memories of Paulie’s — he came to the restaurant on his first date with his current boyfriend, over four years ago. Eric is excited to be at Paulie’s on the other side of the counter, serving artisan coffee and delicious food to the city he calls home.


Paulie’s Counter Culture – Stacy McCool

Yes, McCool is here real last name…

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Stacy joined the Paulie’s team at the end of 2016. She is currently studying Japanese Linguistics at Houston Community College. Stacy Moved to Houston in the summer of 1999 and loves the diversity that this city has to offer. Before returning to school last year, she worked in a variety of industries, Oil & Gas, Solar Power, Real Estate, and retail, before moving into the food industry. With a passion for coffee, she was eager for the opportunity to learn more about the craft and gain hands on experience with it.

Her love of the Japanese culture and country is what prompted her to go back to school to obtain a linguistic degree and she plans to continue towards getting certified as a translator. In the future, she hopes to move to Osaka or Tokyo to open up her own café there.

When not at work or school, she can be found exploring local coffee shops and bars around the city or spending time at home working on recipes or attempting to sew clothes. She has two helper cats, Mia & Akira, who love to work as paperweights for anything she needs to pick up.She also is a car enthusiast and is currently working on restoring her ’73 Volkswagen Karmann Ghia hardtop.


Paulie’s Counter Culture – Audrey Bailey

Audrey is Houston born and raised, except for the three years she spent in Detroit as a kid, but that doesn’t really count. She recently moved from Spring to Montrose and is loving every minute of it. She recently purchased a bicycle and loves to ride and explore the city to find new street art. “I personally am not artistic,” Audrey says, “But, I love to see other people’s artwork and have a mass appreciation for it all.”

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While in Spring Audrey worked a wide variety of jobs, from an office job, to retail management all the way to being a “ghost hunter” leading tours through the haunted area of Old Town Spring. Audrey says that she really appreciates every job she has ever worked. She claims it made her more of a well rounded person and gave her a broader knowledge of several work industries. Before working at Paulie’s, she spent time at a popular Midtown bar/club as a promoter and assisted with event coordinating. Being forced to drive from Spring to Midtown everyday for work influenced her decision to move to the city. “I always wanted to move here, I just needed a little push.” Working here also inspired her to make event and venue management a future career.

She loves learning new things which helps her stay motivated at school. She’s about to wrap up her associates degree from Lone Star College and is hopeful to attend the UH Hospitality Program starting in the Fall of 2017.

When Audrey is not busy with work or school you can find her exploring museums or attending concerts. Seeing live music gives Audrey a thrill and will see almost any band. She first started going to concerts on a regular basis over eleven years ago and doesn’t see herself stopping anytime soon. Audrey has a wide variety of taste in music, her favorite genres are classic country, ska, reggae and pop punk. Audrey also spends a good amount of time at home with her pup, Little Man, and loves to buy him new outfits and accessories.

She joined the Paulie’s team through the words of friends and is loving every minute of it. Her knowledge of beer, wine and coffee is growing everyday. She knows taking every little bit in from the Paulie’s experience will help her all throughout life.


Paulie’s Counter Culture – Joshua!

Joshua is a born and raised Houstonian having resided on the east side of town his entire life so far. Growing up, he always seemed more inclined towards the visual and musical arts. While he was very involved in both during high school, he eventually had to make the ultimate decision to focus all his time and energy on Music.

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He graduated from North Shore Senior High School in 2011 and attended San Jacinto College North before finally transferring to The University of Houston in fall of 2014. There, Joshua auditioned for and joined the Moores School of Music where he pursues his degree in Music Education. While there he has participated in music groups such as the Moores School Percussion Ensemble, University of Houston Steel Pan Band as well as the Spirit of Houston Marching Band. Joshua is also drummer to local post­punk/post­rock band Bearlios. Joshua plays with Bearlios very frequently in the Houston area and have even played at venues such as The Scout Bar, Walters Downtown, Fitzgeralds, Numbers Night Club and The White Swan.

During his free time, Joshua can be found in the Westheimer/Montrose area of Houston hanging out with friends and exploring new coffee shops and bars. Josh finds this area to be the go­to place when it comes to finding new amazing restaurants and bars.

Joshua first heard about Paulie’s from his best friend, Kristina, who had recently began working there. He would visit her during her shifts to say hi and try to playfully distract her while working. While there, he became fond of the restaurant’s very relaxed atmosphere as well as the free cucumber water. It was about a year later when Kristina informed Josh that they were hiring at the restaurant to which Josh responded “sign me up”. Although Josh had no restaurant or coffee experience, the team took him in with open arms and immediately began training on everything food, beer, wine and coffee.

Aside from working at Paulie’s, Joshua also assists and works with the Kempner High School Marching Band where he specializes on working with the Front Ensemble. He also teaches percussion and piano private lessons in the Houston area.


Paulie’s Counter Culture – Sara Kim

Sara is currently a post-bac student studying Biology/ Pre-dental at the University of Houston. She was born and raised in Houston, Texas and can speak fluent Korean. As a child she grew up around food helping her parents at their hole-in-the-wall burger shop on the southeast part of town. Working at Paulie’s definitely brings back childhood memories of growing up in a family business environment.

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She can’t imagine living anywhere other than the South because she loves the warm weather, laid-back culture, southern hospitality, and most importantly the amazing food. She enjoys outdoor adventures, reading books and fashion blogs, living a healthy lifestyle, music festivals, and trying new restaurants. Most importantly she loves traveling to new places and immersing herself into different cultures around the world. Her desire to travel the world cultivated when she first went on a European Mediterranean cruise during high school then backpacked through Europe in college. She plans to backpack through Southeast Asia and South America in the near future.

 

She attended undergrad at the University of Texas at Austin and graduated with a B.S. in Psychology. During her undergrad years is when she fell in love with the city of Austin and hopes to move back there someday. After graduating she took a year off before returning back to school to fulfill her dreams of becoming a dentist. Out of all the possible career choices dentistry interested her the most because it’s a career that is hands on, interactive, and always challenging one to learn and progress. She hopes to have a direct impact on people’s lives by building their self-esteem and confidence one smile at a time.

 

You can find her exploring different parts of Houston, trying new restaurants and bars, or eating Korean food in Korea-town. She is currently enjoying learning how to cook Korean food from her mother and has mastered a couple of delicious dishes. Working at Paulie’s has given her insight into a new found love for Italian food, wine, and latte art. She hopes to advance from being a novice latte artist and to be able to serve beautiful latte art to the Houston community!


Paulie’s Counter Culture – Vasili Kritikos

Vasili was born right here in Houston Texas in 1995, also the year the Houston Rockets won their second consecutive NBA championship. His parents claim that his Rockets fandom stems from watching the NBA playoffs while his mother was hospitalized during birth.

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His grandparents hail from the Greek islands of Chios and Sparta with his father being first generation born here in the states, while Vasili and his two brothers are second generation. Vasili takes pride in his Greek heritage, and has visited Greece twice in his lifetime. He even pursued the art of Greek dancing, and freelances as a Greek dancer at various locations around town.

Many of Vasili’s family members were or are a part of the restaurant industry, and he is no stranger to working in the front and back of house. Throughout his childhood he helped his parents in many of their “Mom’s” franchise restaurants with his duties ranging from working cafeteria style food lines, catering, deliveries, expediting, and shopping for the restaurants. He also has experience bussing and serving which he puts to good use wherever he works.

Vasili graduated high school in 2013, and immediately attended Lone Star College Tomball for two years pursuing an arts degree in music. He changed his major however when he transferred to the University of Houston and decided to pursue a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science. He hopes to practice corporate law in the future and participate in politics at the state and local levels. “What I’ve learned as a young political scientist is the real changes to our everyday lives happen locally. In order to give back to the community and small businesses like the ones that raised me, I want to run for the offices closest to them and that can have the most positive impact upon them.”

Hobbies of his including music, dancing, politics, gaming, and socializing. He is a former clarinet/bass clarinet player through 8 years of middle and high school band. Greek dancing is no stranger to him as growing up in a Greek family taught him many moves and techniques. Politics and political figures have always fascinated him, and he says he wants to make his name amongst “The small list of good Greek politicians”. Technology and gaming has always mesmerized him, and during his time at Lone Star, he worked for 2 years as a sales associate for GameStop. He states that working sales taught him many different things about the service industry than his long history in the restaurant business. Customers and regulars at the store that he worked at were always excited to see Vasili behind the counter, knowing that when he was on the clock, their transactions would be efficient with genuine customer service because of his passion for gaming and his desire to provide the best service possible. Vasili is not afraid to strike up a conversation with strangers, and he always tries to maintain professionality and courtesy to all.

He first heard about Paulie’s through friends of his siblings, and as soon as he started living on campus at the University of Houston, he wanted to be a part of our team. Italian food has always been one of his favorites, and he is a coffee fanatic, always excited to try new brews and roasts. Our shortbread cookies quickly made their way to the top of his favorite list!


Paulie’s Counter Culture – Daniel Perez

Daniel was born in Santa Cruz, California, moved to Sugar Land, TX as a child and claims to be “Texas to the core.” The phrase, “I wasn’t born in Texas, but got here as soon as I could,” definitely applies to Daniel, or so he claims.

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At a young age he fell in love with the game of baseball. There was nothing like the rush felt between the lines. Baseball became life. He was obsessed with being the best player he could be. He spent countless hours practicing, often times alone. Dan played baseball throughout high school and was fortunate enough to receive a scholarship to play ball in college.

Unfortunately, the dream was short lived as he blew his shoulder out in first semester at North Central Texas College. Forced to get surgery and months of rehab, Dan had to make the decision to give up the dream and call it quits. He transferred to Blinn College in College Station, spent a semester there and was fortunate enough to be accepted into the Bauer College of Business at the University of Houston, where he is currently seeking a degree in Business Management.

After baseball, he was left searching for another outlet. Dan picked up the guitar and began teaching himself to play. “It was almost like falling in love with baseball all over again.” He spent hours learning new songs until finally writing his own song. Music has become the next passion. He currently plays bars and venues around the Houston area with his band, The Good Heart. Dan plays rhythm guitar and lead vocals. In between working at Paulie’s and going to school, he dedicates to music. Like many of us, music has always been there to express himself. His hope is that his music can do that for other people. “There is something about music that lets us all know we are not alone in whatever we may be going through and I think that is very special.”

Between working, going to school, or playing music, you can find Dan playing softball and getting together with friends and family to have a good time. There is nothing like a cold beer, good people, and good entertainment.  Dan is also brother-in-law to Paulie’s Beverage Director, Matt Zaldivar.