Karl Dornemann

karlbioFrom humble beginnings of serving ice cream to screaming kids, Karl has been in the restaurant business for 25 years.

Karl opened The Tap House in Ghent and later went on, with help from friends, to open Crackers and Empire in Norfolk.

As Karl traveled to New York, DC and Philly he found himself ordering a variety of Asian influenced additions in many different types of restaurants. It was this idea of, “this is how I eat, I must share it with others,” that gave him a forum to continue to insult, nag and eventually persuade folks to try new food and drinks.

Karl thinks he knows it all, and when it comes to wine, spirits, and beer, he may actually be right. Many an unsuspecting bar customer or server has asked an innocent question about scotch or bourbon only to find themselves so deep into minutia that they finish their drink just to end the conversation.

His nicknames include Scotch Nazi, Cocktail Chemist, Microbrew Maven, and a few other choice phrases. Karl has created a number of popular drinks that helped Bardo become the largest Virginia seller of Woodford Reserve Bourbon and Finlandia Cranberry Vodka. Bardo is also near the top of the list for Finlandia Vodka and Tullamore Dew Irish Whiskey.

Karl and Eric also operate a consulting firm, Prime Eats, Inc. that specializes in restaurant management and design, as well as hotel food and beverage consulting. They have worked for the Doubletree, Norfolk Airport Norfolk Radisson, and opened The Public House in July 2011.