This is Michelle Kanis, from Vancouver, an operating partner at Bar Corso.
Michelle is just under 30 years old and is originally from Alberta. She’s the first generation Canadian born in her family. Her parents are Dutch and South African. Michelle has traveled a lot and lived in different countries. She was born in Alberta and moved to the West Coast shortly after. Then she lived in Holland, South Africa, and the Caribbean. She still loves traveling and intends to do so when it will be possible again.
Michelle has been working in hospitality for ten years. She worked in high-volume bars for a long time, until she fell in love with cocktails and eventually made her way to cocktail bartending. She got to work with people from all over the world and learned a lot by observing them, learning their techniques, and taking everything she could from what they had to offer. If she didn’t have one mentor, she learned from the collectiveness of different people she crossed paths with.
From her love of wine and food, eventually, she met her now business partners, originally from Italy and raised in East Van, Vancouver’s Little Italy neighborhood. They came up with the great concept of Bar Corso and Michelle joined as the operating partner. Bar Corso offers food inspired by cicchetti, Italian small-size dishes. Drinks-wise, apart from offering Italian wines and cocktails, they also specialize in grappa and amaro. They opened in January 2020, two months before the first covid lockdown. Regardless of the extra challenges of opening in that context, they are now back at it with full force and very grateful to have the continuous support of their neighborhood and regulars.
Bar Corso is definitely one of its kind in East Van. Michelle has always loved to bring her European background to her bartending style and let’s just say that it comes to life with brio with her first venue Bar Corso.
A little bit more about Michelle...
The three words that describe her best: fair – easy-going – light
One cocktail to bring on a desert island: A daiquiri.
Her advice for people that want to open their own restaurant or bar: Speak to the right people, use your mentors and ask questions. A lot of people have been doing this for many years and they know exactly who to call and what to do for certain things. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, make new contacts, and create relationships.
What she likes most about hospitality: Making people feel good and comfortable as well as educating them. She never wants people to feel embarrassed if they don’t know something, so making them feel comfortable and educating them is really what she loves most.
The biggest challenge she had to overcome opening her own venue: Unfortunately, it was probably covid. They just opened and it was looking pretty good, and then it was just that whole stop. Opening, creating momentum, having to shut down everything, and then having to re-open and re-create that momentum again.