Meet Olivia Forward. She is the Assistant General Manager of the historic Empire Lounge and Restaurant. It’s evident from speaking with Olivia that there is a strong team, a family, working hard to keep things moving forward at The Empire during COVID and that she loves the Louisville community.
Olivia, we are all fans of what you are doing at Empire – thank you for all that you do!
Q: What inspired you to led you to your current career?
A: I’ve worked on and off in restaurants since I was 15. I have always enjoyed the interactions and the pace of restaurants, it’s high energy and keeps you very engaged. After I got my Psychology degree and was in the process of looking for a job, I interviewed and was hired at The Empire. It’s been really good for me. It began as something I thought might be temporary, but ended up as a career. I’ve been at The Empire now for 7 years.
Q: What are a couple of your favorite restaurants in Louisville/Lafayette?
A: I love The Post, it has great fried chicken! I honestly love Verde too, which is sort of our go-to for lunch or in between meetings… just pop over there and grab some tacos. Good, good stuff there.
Q: If you could travel anywhere in the world right now, where would it be(If Covid wasn’t a thing)? And why?
A: I’ve always wanted to go to South America to explore the culture and vibe of the area. I love the food. I’ve been to Belize which I really enjoyed, so I think I’d like to go further south, definitely into Brazil, and see what is there.
Q: What is the first movie you remember seeing in a theater or what is your favorite movie?
A: The first movie I remember seeing in a theater was The Lion King, but I think I remember it because my dad cried through the whole thing! hahaha. My favorite movie is probably Moulin Rouge! – it’s fantastic and with great music content.
Q: What advice would you give to people?
A: I would say either 1) be kind to each other or 2) wear your mask.
Q: What is something on your bucket list?
A: Traveling – to visit every continent. It’d be very cool to be able to see a little bit of everywhere.
Q: What three bands that you would like to see(dead or alive)?
A: The Beatles are very high up on my list. I’ve been told to see Widespread Panic by one of my very good friends and I’m sure that’d be an interesting experience. A personal favorite would be Aretha Franklin, “The Queen of Soul”.
Q: What current / former local business makes you the most nostalgic about Louisville/Lafayette?
A: The Empire of course, it’s a great spot, it has history, it’s a very cool place to be. Little Horse is funky with old vintage stuff, which is super fun.
Q: If you could choose anyone that is alive today and not a relative; with whom would you love to have lunch? Why? And where locally would y’all meet for this lunch?
A: I’d have lunch with Michelle Obama and would show off The Empire.
Q: What is your favorite thing or something unique about Louisville/Lafayette?
A: It has great small town vibe. You’re close to Boulder and still pretty close to Denver. It has a sense of community and is close-knit, like for example someone lost a dog and 50 people posted about it. People care.
Q: Where do you see yourself in 5 or 10 years?
A: I’d like to see The Empire be successful and I’d loved to be a part of it wherever that success leads. I’ve always enjoyed event coordinating, which clearly isn’t much of a thing right now because we can’t have large groups (due to COVID), but it’s been always my favorite part of working there. So, if I weren’t working for The Empire, I probably would be in a position where I could coordinate larger events. I really enjoy being able to help create a special moment for people and make sure that they had a wonderful experience.
Q: (Even for friends or family), what is something interesting that most people don’t know about you?
A: I’d like to think I’m a pretty good writer, it’s something I’ve always enjoyed. My mom passed away when I was a teenager and I wrote a bunch of journal entries to her. They sort of chronicled my journey through grief and I’ve thought about putting them together as a book that may help others who have experienced the same thing.
Q: What 3 words or phrases come to mind when you think of the word HOME?
A: Family, Love, and Food.
Q: If you were cast into a major motion picture and had your choice of anyone to be your co-star, who would you choose? And why?
A: Channing Tatum because he’s adorable!
Q: If you have a full-time staff member that is fully paid for, who would you choose? Driver, Nanny, Personal Trainer, Chef, or anything you want.
A: Personal stylist. I hate doing my hair… I hate doing the make up thing. If I could just have someone do it for me while I read a book, that’d be perfect.
Q: Who is the most interesting person you’ve met here in Louisville/Lafayette?
A: Jeremiah. He lives a couple blocks over and has been one of our great regulars over the years. He makes wonderful portraits of people’s pets, he’s an architect, and he organizes derby parties every year for derby watching. He’s just a character, with a lot of interesting experiences to share.