“I double majored in finance and accounting at Salisbury State University. After working two and a half years in accounting, I realized that I’m not a shirt & tie kind of guy.
I spent my college summers working in the bar and restaurant scene in Ocean City, MD. I worked five summers there and fell in love with the people in the restaurant industry. I felt extremely connected to the community of employees. It was like a family type atmosphere because we all worked so closely. We were in tune with each other’s issues, good and bad. That experience was so formative for me because it revealed a type of work culture that was completely different than a standard nine-to-five job.
When I worked the nine-to-five in accounting it was more about coming in, doing my job, and maybe going to a happy hour here and there with the other employees, but I didn’t feel a deeper connection. That’s a big reason why our company motto is, ‘Employees, guests, then investors.’ If employees are happy and they’re getting everything they need to be successful, then they’re going to make sure that the guests are cared for and happy so they will come back. If the employees and guests are aligned, then investors get their money back and they will be happy too.
We’ve always focused on employees first because they are the foundation on which our restaurants are built. I think the restaurant workers can be an underappreciated work class. They are often perceived as a means to an end job, but there’s a career in this industry if you take it seriously and put in the time and effort. I love employing people. Creating jobs and opportunities is the heart and soul of small business."
"The Reserve, our first restaurant, opened in 2009 on Riverside Avenue. When I was 27, I lived right down the street from a corner building that had been idle for some time. I thought it would be awesome to have a little bar/restaurant right within arm's reach of my apartment. A good friend and I hopped on the opportunity and we got it up and running. It was the perfect space for us to take what we knew, refine it, become more seasoned, and then grow outside of that building once we had our formula down. We ran The Reserve for about three years, sold it, and in 2012 we created Banditos on South Charles Street. We currently own three restaurants within 50 yards of one another in Federal Hill: Wayward Smokehouse, 101, and Banditos.
Federal Hill has been such a strong foundation for us to grow our business. We get every age demographic: families, strollers, and young adults at night. It’s been such an amazing experience to create so many jobs and experiences for patrons.
I feel such a strong connection to the hospitality industry because we get to foster many experiences and memories that people cherish throughout their lives. Whether it’s conversations over dinner, dancing with friends, goofing around, or brunch with family, I think it plays a big role in the social aspect of our lives. Without it, I don’t think life would be as enjoyable.”