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    Beloved Sardi’s bartender retires after 55 years on the job

    MIDTOWN, Manhattan (WABC) — At Sardi’s, a restaurant that sees its share of famous faces, there is one face that is a true fixture.

    Josip Petrsoric is a bartender at Sardi’s – he began working there in 1968 and got promoted to bartender four years later.

    “We were so busy in those days,” Petrsoric said.

    They were busy serving up stars like Jackie Gleason and Liza Minnelli.

    He says he’s never been star-struck.

    When Petrsoric first started tending bar, drinks cost a dollar. Now they are 20 dollars. And all along, he has had the same approach – to make customers feel welcomed and respected.

    “You come in and he knows before you open your mouth – that quality – he’s a phenomenal person,” said customer Raymond Basso.

    “Joe made me a Shirley Temple and my first cosmopolitan,” said Sharon Slosarik

    “If I could put it in words for us, he’s a treasure,” said Sardi’s Managing Partner, Max Klimavicius.

    On Friday, Petrsoric poured his last drink – the 78-year-old is retiring.

    “55 years here, I’m happy I go out in one piece,” he said.

    But first, there will be a show of appreciation – a plaque will now hang in his honor and his career of more than five and a half decades.

    Petrsoric is moving back to his native Croatia and is looking forward to finally having his nights off.

    “I love what I do, it looks like people like me too – it was fun, a lot of fun,” he says.

    The way he sees it, he is leaving Sardi’s with his glass half full.

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