OWNER & EXECUTIVE CHEF TOM SAAB
Owner and Executive Chef Tom Saab is a well-known restaurateur and dish curator with years of culinary experience, training and managing restaurants. Chef Saab and his wife, Christy, opened Bocca Ristorante in 2020, and also own and manage Bocca Ristorante, a Northern Italian cuisine-inspired destination located in the heart of the loft district.
Chef Saab is constantly on the hunt for the next best dish and is truly dynamic in every facet of the restaurant industry. In addition to his cuisine, he finds time to get to know each of the guests that come through his restaurant. Chef Saab knows food, but he knows customer service and hospitality just as much. He also recognizes almost every face that walks through his door, welcoming them to a new experience at Bocca Ristorante each time. Each and every detail from menu to patron experience is under the helm of Chef Saab, and he does not miss.
In fact, he trains his team weekly on best practices on how to serve and treat guests leaving no room for failure, only success. He values and fosters his relationship with his employees, treating them like family. He is constantly offering them resources, training and tools to make them better than the day before. Chef Saab’s generosity and empathy for his team are unmatched - making Bocca Ristorante a desirable place of work and a model of excellence to other local restaurants. He sets expectations for his diners and tries to never fall short. Chef Saab is also a leader within the restaurant community by offering advice and wisdom to other neighborhood restaurants and restaurateurs.
ABOUT OUR TEAM
Our team consists of exquisite culinary talent! Trained and educated through culinary schools like the Culinary Institute of America and Culinard, the dynamic and eccentric Bistro 218 team is what fuels the creativity and uniqueness of our restaurant. Inspiration and energy is the lifeline to the restaurant welcoming new and fresh perspectives and ideas on food, drink and service through hard work and persistent determination for culinary perfection.
GENERAL MANAGER | MATT DUNN
Matt Dunn, oversees the overall organization and performance of the restaurant by offering support to the entire restaurant staff. His main goals are to aid in the experience of guests and provide the tools, resources and training to staff to help them be successful in their daily to-dos.Dunn is the heartbeat of the restaurant, keeping everyone on task and the overall restaurant structure running smoothly.
SOMMELIER | CARLOS CISNEROS
Carlos Cisneros is a firm believer in “drink what you like.” When it comes to wine, many people are intimidated by all of the different grape varietals and regions to choose from, but Cisneros makes it a point to teach rather than intimidate and provide options for everyone!
After moving to Birmingham in 2000, Cisneros started working in various fine-dining restaurants and became inspired to expand his wine knowledge and become a Sommelier. This influenced him to travel to various vineyards to see and experience first-hand what goes into creating the perfect bottle of wine. Working closely with Chefs Saab, Cisneros has helped build a menu of wine offerings that will pair perfectly with your next meal at Bistro 218.
PASTRY CHEF | ELIZABETH JACKSON
Elizabeth Jackson brings unique takes to traditional desserts. She oversees the creative menu direction of seasonal pastries and desserts using her own creativity and a number of cookbooks. However, she does not stick to the status quo of a recipe, she creates her own pulling inspiration from a number of recipes for only one dessert dish.
Chef Jackson did not start her career in the food industry until 2009 as she came out of retirement to pursue her passion. She attended Culinard in 2009 and then started her second career as a pastry chef dedicated to bringing a little sweetness to people’s lives one bite at a time.
MIXOLOGIST & BARTENDER | ALLY BAGLEY
Alley Bagley puts typical cocktail creation to the test! Not only does she create the libations menu with cocktails of her own inventions, but her own syrups as well! Nothing is off the table when it comes to cocktails because the opportunities are endless. With an impressive liquor selection, scratch-made syrups, delicately designed garnishes and more - there is truly nothing better than cocktail hour at Bistro 218.