You’ll be greeted with a friendly smile when you see “Jay Boyfriend” behind the bar. Jay who? Yup, that’s the nickname you get when your girlfriend — who also happens to bartend at The Gables at Chadds Ford — recommends you for the job.
Jay’s real last name is Dombroski, and you can find him shaking, mixing and pouring drinks to the delight of our customers. An informal poll confirms what we already know: He’s fun, knowledgeable and hard-working. We grabbed a few minutes of Jay’s time to learn about the man behind the beverages.
Tell us about the “Jay Boyfriend” story. How did you come to work at The Gables and acquire that nickname?
My girlfriend, Gretchen Medrow, works there and mentioned to owner Ann Kolenick that I was interested in bartending. The next thing I knew, I was helping with banquets … and got the nickname. I started working at the main bar roughly six months after I started working events, and the nickname lives on!
How long have you been here?
I started working at The Gables in 2016.
What did you do before you came here?
I worked in retail for 10 years, including Best Buy, Circuit City, Magnolia and T-Mobile.
I always wanted to bartend on the side while working in retail, but I never got the chance. When I decided to go back to school, it felt like the best field to work in because of the flexibility and the people. I have a cybersecurity degree from Wilmington University and I’m currently working on a Google certification, so bartending really is a great fit with my schedule.
What’s your favorite part about bartending?
I love talking to the wide range of customers who come in. We have our regulars, but there’s always a steady stream of new people, too, especially those checking out what’s in the area. I get to hear different opinions and meet people I might not have otherwise.
What do you like most about working at The Gables?
There’s a strong family atmosphere here. I really appreciate that, and Ann for setting the tone.
What’s your favorite menu item and favorite adult beverage?
I can’t get enough of the California chicken sandwich on our bar menu. It’s got smoked bacon and onion jam, avocado, cheddar, butter lettuce and heirloom tomatoes on a brioche bun. It comes with hand-cut Kennebec fries, but I sub the sweet potato fries. My favorite drink is a paloma — ask me to make you one! It’s tequila with a citrusy surprise.
What’s your favorite drink to make?
I really like making an old fashioned. Must be all the sugar and bitters muddling to get it just right. Happy to make you one of those, too!
What’s one thing about you people might not know that you’d be willing to let us mention?
Each year, a couple of friends and I participate in a wing-eating contest that raises money for the Easterseals, calling ourselves the Pink Flamingos. We’ve got a great track record of knocking back wings — and we eat them “suicide” hot. That’s the hottest sauce available. Not to brag, but as of 2019, we’ve won six years in a row.
A guy with an interesting nickname who loves to hang out with people, makes great drinks and also raises money for charity on the side? You know you want to belly up to the bar and meet Jay Boyfriend. He’s looking forward to meeting you, too.
The Gables at Chadds Ford is nestled in the heart of the historic Brandywine Valley. Our combination of fresh seasonal cuisine, rustic yet elegant charm and enchanting outdoor dining will keep you coming back time and time again. The Gables is also the perfect venue to host your next special event, whether you are planning a wedding, rehearsal dinner, baby shower or corporate event.
Photos: The Gables at Chadds Ford