Company History & Bios:
AIDA Bistro & Wine Bar
AIDA Bistro & Wine Bar’s co-owners, Joe and Mary Barbera, had a life-long dream to open a restaurant and wine bar.
The Barbera Family
Natives of Chicago, Illinois, Joe and Mary moved to Maryland in 1984. Before following his passion for food and wine, Joe worked in the high tech industry for over 20 years and was responsible for sales and marketing for many small start-up companies during his career. Mary owned a calligraphy business for 20 years and is a certified youth minister. Together they have raised five children, all whom at one time or another have been employed at AIDA Bistro.
In addition to their love for their restaurant and their customers, Mary and Joe are actively involved in the community. Joe is on the Restaurant Association of Maryland (RAM) Board as Vice Chair, is past President of Howard County Tourism Board of Directors and is Chair of Blossoms of Hope. Mary is actively involved with 4H, The ARC of Howard County and Gilchrist Hospice. Both are also involved in St. Louis Parish in Clarksville, Maryland.
Joe and Mary’s passion for great food and wine is reflected in their philosophy, “Wine is Food,” and shows with their diverse and progressive wine list, and the largest Wine on Tap program in Maryland.
Who is Aida?
Their first restaurant is named after Joe’s mother, Lillian Aida Barbera, who resides with them and often warmly greets patrons on Saturday evenings. To the delight of our guests, many of Aida’s recipes have been incorporated into our menu over the years. If Aida is not greeting guests in person, her smiling portrait promises to greet you in our wine bar.
Chris Lewis, Executive Chef
Christopher Lewis has been in the restaurant industry for over 20 years. As a graduate of the Pennsylvania Institute of Culinary Arts, Chef Lewis completed his externship at The Milton Inn in Sparks, MD. He later moved on to Linwoods in Owings Mills before becoming Executive Chef at The Brass Elephant in Baltimore. Chef Lewis broadened his culinary skills as Executive Sous Chef at 701 Restaurant in Washington, DC. During his tenure at 701 Restaurant, he refined his skills through chefs trained under such well known chefs as Alfred Portale, Daniel Boulud and Jean George.
Chef Lewis returned to the Baltimore area as Executive Chef of The Iron Bridge Wine Company in Columbia, MD. In his three years at Iron Bridge, he fell in love with working with local farms to bring the freshest product to it’s guests. Chef Lewis is very excited to bring his food combinations and creative food plating to AIDA Bisto as the Executive Chef.
Sylvia Choi, Sous Chef
Sylvia Choi, born in Flushing, NY, grew up in Maryland. Her love of food comes from her mom and watching her cook in the kitchen from a very early age. Her mother showed her how to cook authentic Korean food. Sylvia interned at AIDA Bistro from December of 2012 to February of 2013. She was employed right after her internship and has come to love the customers and the people working at AIDA Bistro. Through her dedication, hard work and commitment, she was promoted to Sous Chef in January 2015.
We take great pride in our staff’s friendly service and their warm hospitality. It is our philosophy to help our staff continually improve by taking classes, participating in culinary contests and other kinds of self and community improvement. There are several charity events that our entire staff supports. These include: Gilchrist Hospice’s Taste of Howard County, Souper Bowl of Caring, The ARC’s Chocolate Ball and raising funds for Blossoms of Hope to support the Tina Broccolino/Claudia Mayer Cancer Resource Center.
We believe our company history and dedicated staff makes the difference in your overall experience at AIDA Bistro & Wine Bar. Please eat, drink, and experience our restaurant and let us know what we can do to make your visit even more enjoyable.