Lamar “Dink” Mertz
Married: wife Lorraine, 43 years.
Children: Scott, Tracy and Debbie.
Dink Mertz began his career “behind the stick” shortly after leaving the Air Force in 1963. He and Lorraine traveled the country looking for work until one evening while dining with her and some friends Dink, then 26 years old, was offered the position as Manager at a restaurant called “The King’s Arms” in Rockland County, New York. It was there that he learned the life of Food and Beverage. He first started off as a dishwasher then moved to the kitchen then behind the bar to learn the business, it was then that it all started. Dink improved business so vastly that this is where he stayed.
On Dink’s first day behind the bar, Knobby moved to the other end and said “ call me if you need me”. It took 3 days for Dink to “get it”, and it was at that point that Knobby Armano became Dink’s mentor and soon everyone wanted to hang out with Knobby and Dink!
Three years later Dink and Lorraine moved to the Pocono Mountains in a town named West Hazleton, PA. Dink was working in the family owned “ Rossi’s” which was located in the center of town. All the town’s business happened there, whether it be arguments resolved, civil service jobs allocated, parties, weddings, whatever the occasion, it all happened there and Dink was right smack dab in the middle of it behind the bar. This was home for the Mertz’ for 17 years until Mrs. Mertz was transferred to Atlantic City as an Executive for “Quality Inns”. Dink had no problem finding a job at Dolley’s Lounge in the Madison Hotel where he worked for 4 years. Dink had formed such a great rapport with not only the guests that walked into the bar but also the other employees that worked with him that he persuaded the owners to build a smoky glass partition between the bar and the lobby. At the end of the month money was tight for the staff and they all came to Dink hungry and thirsty, tired and broke. Dink ordered pizzas for his customers and paid from his own pocket. After 4 years of working at Dolley’s; Mrs. Mertz was transferred to Baltimore. Dink found work at the Fish Market, which had 4 nightclubs and 2 restaurants and a grand stage all under 1 roof. He then moved to Harrisons Pier 5. Shortly after moving to Baltimore, Mrs. Mertz retired and both Dink and Lorraine moved to Sarasota, FL. Dink found work at Coasters Restaurant, a mom and pop restaurant which was not fairing well. Dink brought a new concept into this bar, fresh juices. He would come in hours before his shift to prep his bar. Soon after Dink started with Coasters, the bar was always full, and Coasters started profiting. Dink was living by his motto “the key to being a successful bartender is to keep the customers interested in you.”
It seemed that Dink had the Midas touch with the previous bars that he worked. He made the best of situations and people loved him for being himself, “a salt of the earth, one of a kind person.” There was still one place that Dink had yet to conquer…Las Vegas. Dink had tried numerous times to get a job in Las Vegas, but being a Union town, this makes it difficult for even the best bartenders. One day, Dink hit the jackpot!! One of the founders of the Bartenders Union found his way into Coasters where he met Dink. After a few phone calls, Dink landed a job at the Mirage Resort working at the Pool. For 3 years, Dink worked poolside running harder than he ever had; business was better than ever. He was an essential part of the opening team at the Bellagio. Today, you can find Dink at the award winning, Petrossian Bar and Lounge doing what he does best, making drinks and keeping people interested in him.