Company History & Bios
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 its Chairman, is past President of Howard County Tourism Board of Directors and is Chairman of the Board of Blossoms of Hope. Mary is actively involved with 4H, 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.
Matt Milani, Executive Chef
About Chef Matthew Milani
Chef Matthew Milani is a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu culinary program. He holds degrees in culinary arts, pastry arts and hotel & restaurant management and in addition a sommelier certificate. Matt has worked in the food-service industry since he was 15.
His professional experience includes time in the front and back of the house at four Foreman/Wolf restaurants as well as opening over fifty units across the country for multiple national and independent restaurant groups. He is best remembered in Howard County as the Owner & Executive Chef at the Rumor Mill Fusion Bar & Restaurant in Ellicott City for ten years before the historic flood of 2016 removed the building. He was named Maryland’s Restaurateur of the Year in 2012 by the Restaurant Association of MD (RAM). He is active in the ACF and Maryland Prostart and likes to mentor young and aspiring Chefs.
Stop by to taste his food and meet him.
Boris Bobrov, Sommelier
Boris joined our AIDA Bistro family in 2013, after years of working in the local hospitality industry. He was voted Howard County Magazine’s “Best Server” in 2017 and was awarded Restaurant Association of Maryland’s prestigious “Heart of the Industry” in 2018. Boris is responsible for staff service & training and is one of our most requested servers.
Boris passed his Level One Sommelier exam in 2018, and is inspired to learn all he can about food & wine and it’s service to our guests. His enthusiasm and knowledge have earned him the title AIDA Bistro’s Sommelier. A native of Russia, Boris enjoys experiencing innovative wine & food pairings, and is an actor in a local theatre group.
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 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.