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Daily Inspiration: Meet Leigh Philipkosky and Ellie Skinner

Today we’d like to introduce you to Leigh Philipkosky and Ellie Skinner. Them and their team share their story with us below:

“It’s all craft,” as we say here at of Love & Regret. At this local exchange, the world influences our food, beer, cocktails, and wine. Owned and operated by local Baltimoreians, of Love & Regret is no average local restaurant. Our passion for uniqueness and quality sets us apart. We are the art of life, love, food, drink, and service.

Established in 2012, of Love & Regret came to life as the original taproom for stillwater artisanal ales. Our name comes from the stillwater beer, of Love & Regret, which is a beautiful brew with lavender, chamomile, heather, and dandelions.

As for how we go where we are today, it is a culmination of our lifelong love and passion for food, drinks, and service that has created this unique exchange in Brewers Hill. Our world travels, life experiences with love and hardship, our obsessions with libations and ingredients, and our will to make a difference have laid the brick walls here at of Love & Regret.

Co-Owners Leigh Philipkosky and Ellie Skinner have been friends for years and have been working together since August of 2020. Anyone will tell you, “they balance each other out perfectly.” Leigh is the founding partner at Love & Regret and has been the reason it has flourished. Her commitment to providing food and beverage experiences that are outside of the mainstream is the soul of this establishment. For nine years she has treated each moment of service as a moment of truth and relentlessly works to provide for this neighborhood.

Ellie comes from a long history of community activism, bartending, and leading restaurant operations. Her savant business skills and commitment to creating a restaurant that positively influences the community has been a welcomed current of empowerment and helped to secure the survival of OLAR through the collapse of this industry.

Leigh: “Together, we achieve things that we could not do without each other.”

Ellie: “Our business partnership is one built on respect, follow through, communication, inspiration and passion for everything that is of Love & Regret. This is how I know our patrons and employees will be well taken care of.”

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle-free, but so far would you say the journey has been a fairly smooth road?
Leigh: “When we first opened I knew so little, and I had to grow with the restaurant. We really had to overcome being “outside of the box” in a blue color community. We were the first in the neighborhood to have craft beer, craft cocktails, and small plates. So we had to educate a neighborhood about a different way to dine. This was a challenge.”

Ellie: “Obviously Covid-19 has been arduous. Not because of the loss in revenue, but rather because of the loss of connectivity with the community. It was so hard not to see our guests, our neighbors, our friends, our family. The silence in our bar was deafening, and I hope never to hear it again. The people are what inspire me most, and it was the reality of our un-set tables that broke my heart during the pandemic.

Re-building after the collapse of an entire industry will probably prove to be the hardest thing we have ever done. But there is no doubt, we can do anything, and we will.”

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know about your work?
It’s all craft here at of Love & Regret. We run a scratch kitchen and scratch bar, which means everything is fresh and homemade. There is no such thing as “can to plate.” There are no pre-bought sauces or syrups in the kitchen or at the bar. Everything is created here. Our dishes are seasonally inspired and locally driven. We use a lot of family recipes, which is something we are very proud of and sets us apart.

The world influences all of our menus. We have wine, beer, liquor, and food imported from all over the world and these worldly products make up the most of what we carry. In fact, 100% of our wine menu is imported. You won’t walk into our bar and recognize most of the libations on the bar back, and that’s a good thing. We want to give a chance to experience outside of the mainstream and really focus on the flavors and the experience. We have 21 taps, all of which are home to craft beer or cider.

The bar is all about creating something that is made just for you. We love to create a craft cocktail for the individual. We love to go off the menu here at the bar Of Love & Regret. We want to take all those beautiful libations, fruits, herbs, spices, and create something just for you.

What is most important at of Love & Regret is that we provide an inclusive and interactive restaurant for all people to get together and for our employees. We try to eliminate mainstream barriers that sometimes distract us from experiencing new things, by featuring unique products from all over the world. We like to call ourselves a “conversation bar” because we don’t have TVs in the hopes that it will encourage you to engage with those around you.

Finally, we try to empower the community to come together for each other. Through our year-round Team Trevor Project fundraising efforts and our annual Fire Hero Chili Cook-Off to support the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation we hope to perpetuate a community of caring for all people.

Do you have any advice for those looking to network or find a mentor?

Ellie: “The first piece of advice I can give to anyone about networking is always follow through and don’t bother if you can’t back it up with a quality product. Word of mouth is perhaps your most influential networking partner. It is what people say when you don’t know they are talking about you that matters most. Commit to the craft and empower your people to care when no one is looking.

As for finding a mentor, remember, who you work for and with is sometimes more important than what you do. Expose yourself to a diversified portfolio of professionals and then commit to learning from several individuals throughout your career. There is no one right way to do anything. Be aware of what your strengths are, and surround yourself with people who understand those strengths to help you build on them. If a mentor is not asking you to teach, then they probably aren’t the right mentor.

Remember, you are your most influential advocate. You must educate yourself and you must believe in yourself. I know people say “It’s all about who you know,” and while this is important, I found that what I do is far more important than anything else.”

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