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Royal York bartender Alina Budzinski to mix her last martini after 42 years

Alina Budzinski drops a skewer of fat olives into a gin martini at the Fairmont Royal York Hotel for the umpteenth time.“The Royal York special, 3-ounce ‘birdbath’ martini. It’s still my most popular drink.”She’s been fixing cocktails, cracking beers and pouring wine at the hotel for more than 40 years — 28 of them at the tiny York Station bar, tucked inconspicuously in the Royal York’s second-floor mezzanine. “This has been my home, literally,” she says. Budzinski is just a couple of weeks away from retirement, set to serve her last drinks as a professional on June 30. She will leave behind a faithful following of regulars, some of whom drank her cocktails for decades.Article Continued Below“I’ve developed relationships with people,” she says. “I’ve served three generations in one family. It’s a compliment to me to have people bring their wives, introduce their kids, their girlfriends.”The Royal York says it will shutter York Station once Budzinski is gone, and find new uses for the mezzanine as part of a renovation.“I’m here for your fantastic seafood chowder,” says a woman who came straight from the train, suitcase in hand.

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