For five years, Carol Armstrong has worked at Red Dot, 2498 N. Bartlett Ave., where she serves drinks and food, including the establishment’s famous poutine (a Canadian dish that features Red Dot’s signature fries or tater tots smothered in vegetarian gravy and melted cheese curds.)
Armstrong studied costume design at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, but for now, the 28-year-old native of Genoa City prefers making strong drinks over stage disguises.
Recently, OnMilwaukee.com tracked down Armstrong just before she left work to catch the Yonder Mountain String Band at The Pabst Theater and asked her about her work, her interests and her dreadlocks.
OnMilwaukee.com: What do you like about your job?
Carol Armstrong: The money is really good here, and I really like this neighborhood a lot. I live around here, so all of my patrons are my neighbors. There’s a good sense of community here. And we have a small staff here, including my roommate!
OMC: What do you like to do in your free time?
CA: I really like to sew. I make clothes, like pants, skirts, dresses. And I have a dog, a husky shepherd chow mix named Dante.
OMC: You used to sew costumes for stage productions. What was the coolest costume you made?
CA: I got to make a really tiny costume for a puppet once.
OMC: How old are you?
CA: I’m 28. Wow, that was the first time I said that out loud. My birthday was just a month ago, and it’s the first time anyone asked me my age since then.
OMC: What is the worst pick-up line you ever heard?
CA: I guy asked, "Do you sleep on your stomach?" I said, "Sometimes." And he said, "Can I?"
OMC: What is your specialty drink?
CA: I actually really like to make Bloody Marys. Not all bartenders do, but I like to drink them so I like to make them for myself and my customers.
OMC: What do you drink when you’re not working?
CA: I like Moscow Mules: ginger beer, Russian vodka and lemon / lime (soda.)
OMC: How long have you been growing your dreads?
CA: For eight years. I got a really bad perm and stopped washing my hair with anything but soap to get it really natty and dry so it would dread.
OMC: Would you ever consider cutting them off?
CA: Yeah, but I don’t know when. They are getting really long.
OMC: What’s the worst part of your job?
CA: The hours can be a drawback. Always having to work through the dinner hour. Also, mopping and cleaning the bathrooms.
OMC: Ever clean up puke?
CA: Yeah, it was smelly.
OMC: Are Milwaukeeans good tippers?
CA: I think so. At least the regulars here are.
OMC: Where did you grow up?
CA: I grew up in in Genoa City, but I went to high school in Lake Geneva.
OMC: What makes Red Dot special?
CA: The poutine. People have come from Canada just to try it.
Molly Snyder started writing and publishing her work at the age 10, when her community newspaper printed her poem, "The Unicorn.” Since then, she's expanded beyond the subject of mythical creatures and written in many different mediums but, nearest and dearest to her heart, thousands of articles for OnMilwaukee.
Molly is a regular contributor to FOX6 News and numerous radio stations as well as the co-host of "Dandelions: A Podcast For Women.” She's received five Milwaukee Press Club Awards, served as the Pfister Narrator and is the Wisconsin State Fair’s Celebrity Cream Puff Eating Champion of 2019.