David Strauss has a twenty year service industry background. He began in the back of house for Marriott hotels in NY at the age of 15, working as a dishwasher and then prep cook and finally line cook. While in college in North Carolina, David began in the back of house of an Italian dining concept, "Ragazzi's" and in 2 years was promoted through all positions until becoming the executive chef. David then relocated to NY, and moved to the front of house bar-tending in several private restaurants. Moving next to Chicago, David took a job tending bar with McCormick and Schmick's, and in less than a year was promoted to corporate trainer for the company. By the end of his tenure he had tended bar full time for the company in Chicago, New York City, and Washington DC, as well as training multiple staffs for new restaurant openings. It was during this time and experience that David fell in love with the classic craft cocktail and started studying non stop outside the work place, determined to find every way to construct and serve the best cocktail.
Finding another opportunity in Philadelphia, David took a chance working with a startup and, at the time Philadelphia's only cocktail bar, "Apothecary", which was considered an avant garde, or contemporary cocktail establishment. This experience kept David in touch with guest service and a bar concept built on fresh, homemade ingredients, and also gave him a chance to begin to create original drinks for guests and contribute to the seasonal menus. After his time there, David moved on to the "Ranstead Room" as head bartender. The Ranstead Room was a collaboration between restauranteur Stephen Starr and cocktail giant Sasha Petraske. It was at this time that David was introduced to and personally trained by Sasha and then spent the next 3 years working closely with him, perfecting the art of preparing and cutting the best ice, making the best juices, and the art of building drinks in rounds a long gone talent and secret of the best bartenders in the world. As well as heading up The Ranstead Room, David also became the first private beverage consultant for Starr Restaurants, consulting on and designing menus for Buddakan in Philadelphia, and Atlantic City, Stella Pizza, Jones, Il Pittore, The Dandelion, The Continental, and Talula's Garden. He also consulted on private restaurants Pure Fare, and The Office. Through these experiences David's work has appeared on NPR, in Flavor and the Menu Magazine, and an original cocktail of his was served at a James Beard Dinner accompanying Chef Robert Aiken's offerings from The Dandelion. In 2012 and 2013, David participated in the San Antonio Cocktail Conference, a national event for bartenders started by Sasha Petraske.
Since returning to DC, David has managed the bar at the original Founding Farmers location before taking a head bartender position at Minibar/Barmini by Jose Andres. Most recently, David was the beverage manager for Le Diplomate, Stephen Starr's French bistro in Logan Circle, a restaurant that boasts record sales for it's company and houses a beverage program worth $6 million annually. The seasonal menu and beverage program David created for Le Diplomate was featured in multiple national publications and was later nominated for a Rammy.