By Sabina Mollot
Last Tuesday night, it was the headline read around the world. A 28-year-old woman from the Bronx, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, bested a veteran Congress member and Queens Democratic Party boss Joe Crowley, in the Democratic Primary.
The primary victor has remained immersed in the news cycle since — in this case because before running for office, Ocasio-Cortez served drinks at a Union Square taco bar called Flats Fix.
On Monday afternoon, we called the business to ask employees for their thoughts on their former coworker. When reached on the phone, manager Ralph Milite couldn’t say enough good things about her.
“She’s a great person. I’m so happy for her,” said Milite. “She’s very deserving.”
He couldn’t recall exactly how long Ocasio-Cortez worked there, but was happy to chat about her future in Washington.
“I’m pleased as an American citizen to know she’s going to be representing the people of this country,” he said. He couldn’t vote for her, though, because he doesn’t live in the Bronx and Queens district.
Meanwhile, a day earlier, an item appeared in Page Six which quoted an unnamed former coworker of the candidate. The source said on the evening of Cinco de Mayo last year, when they worked the bar together, instead of splitting $560 that had been left in tips, the employee, a server, was only given $50 by Ocasio-Cortez. When she complained to management about it, she got another $50.
Asked about this story, Milite said it was untrue.
“I know it’s not accurate because I was the manager on duty that day… we do keep records.” He dismissed the claim as coming from a person “with an axe to grind.”
As for Ocasio-Cortez, “she’s too big of a person to let this interrupt her life,” said Milite. “I can vouch for her integrity and her work ethic.”
Flats Fix is located at 28 East 16th Street and it also recently opened a location opposite Madison Square Park on East 23rd Street that was previously a restaurant called Live Bait.