Erika Dutka is an Archbald native who recently moved back home after living and working in Philadelphia. She attended Valley View High School and later earned a GED. She is a bartender at Barret’s Pub in Archbald and is thrilled to be back home. She gives credit to her daughter, Moira, 3, whose birth she says really grounded her.
Meet Erika Dutka…
Q: What do you enjoy most about bartending at Barrett’s?
A: I love my coworkers because they have all been there so long. Some of them even waited on me when I was little, so it’s nice we are a family. Also we get a ton of regulars who come in all the time. They know you, your kids, your mom and grandparents. If I work five days a week, I see them every day. They keep us going and are so friendly.
Q: You are primarily a bartender but have many other roles. Describe some of your other roles.
A: I waitress. I also do all the menus with hand stamping and run our social media accounts. I’ll hand-write or hand-draw things or design them on the computer. I feel like when you’re a local spot, you should have special things that you put your work into. I recently drew slime on the menu for Halloween to add touches and make it personal. I’ll decorate here and style the chalkboards if people are having parties.
A: My perfect drink is definitely seasonal. It’s beautiful, decently priced and packs a punch so you don’t feel like you’re getting ripped off. I would want a nice warm apple flavor with a little bit of cinnamon, a lot of booze and a nice after-bite.
Q: What is the most valuable lesson you’ve learned through the work you do?
A: Definitely teamwork makes the dream work. You have to work as a team with everyone involved and make it work no matter how you feel about certain people. That doesn’t mean just the front of the house, it means the back of the house, understanding the kitchen and the customers, and everything in between. I love bussing tables or doing whatever I need to do to help someone else. When it’s busy and everyone is working, you are just like a well-oiled machine, and those are the nights you are most proud and gain from the most.
Q: What do you enjoy doing when you’re not bartending?
A: I love doing stuff with my daughter. We go to the park a lot and for walks. I love to just do little things with her and pull her in the wagon. I’m with her or my family 100 percent of the time I’m not working.
Q: What is your favorite part about being a mom?
A: At the end of the day, just laying down with her. I love to see her learn and grow. I never want to be away from her. I’m super proud of her. It made me have a realization about life and how to treat others. I’ve learned the value of the time you spend with people you love and helping them learn and be successful.
Q: Talk about your community involvement.
A: My family and staff at Barrett’s help me do Baby Pantry Palooza every year. It benefits St. Joseph’s Baby Pantry in Dunmore. We do raffle baskets. Last year, James Barrett and his dad and friends played music, so it was a big open mic of local artists. We gave away a fire pit, and St. Joseph’s is always very appreciative. When I came back from Philly and had my baby shower, I got so much stuff. I remember thinking, “If I didn’t have this, what would I do?” Nobody should not have what they need.
Q: Have you had a moment or time in your life that helped shape who you are today?
A: Having my daughter definitely changed everything. It was the best thing that ever happened to me. I care so much more about people. I have more compassion, patience, understanding, and I’m so much more appreciative of every second of my life.
Photos by Emma Black