Matthew Gundaker, Bar Manager

 

Bartending for 20 years now, Matt Gundaker knows his way around a jigger and shaker. He first dove into the restaurant scene in 1998, leaving his corporate jobs and moving to Miami. Since then, Gundaker has built an extensive and impressive repertoire bartending at various restaurants and venues, and has created relationships and memories that continue to motivate and inspire his career.

While in Miami, Gundaker was introduced to the hospitality industry by way of back of house positions, spending time building a fundamental knowledge and understanding of how the restaurant industry operates on a daily scope. He then transitioned to front of house positions, where he played crucial roles in the opening of multiple restaurants, including Bahama Breeze, Dwyers Fine Dining Steakhouse, Icabods, Nervous Nellies, and Banana Joes.

From corporate to privately owned properties, and nightclubs to fine dining, Gundaker has a wide breadth of bartending experience under his belt.  Throughout his various roles, he learned the art of bar flare and craft cocktails, and the ability to adapt to the environment in which he’s working.

Gundaker was ready for a change of pace after getting married and having three kids, and he and his family decided to move to his wife’s home state of Massachusetts. He landed a position at the steakhouse stalwart Smith and Wollensky, and after some time there, moved on to further his career with a role at the Aquitaine Group.

 

Having generated and proven a respectful bartending career in Boston, Gundaker was motivated to continue challenging himself, and started searching for new positions that would allow him to more freely express his talents. That positioned turned out to be at Ledger in Salem.

 

As Bar Manager at Ledger, Gundaker oversees the entire bar program and bar staff, from creating new cocktails, to training bartenders, and curating positive experiences for the guests. While Gundaker initially was drawn in to the restaurant industry through his interest in food and cooking, it was the service side of the industry that truly resonated with his personality, and has motivated him to pursue a 20-year career. Making people laugh and feel appreciated is an unexpected highlight of his job, and in turn, his coworkers and guests reciprocate that appreciation.