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MEET OUR LEADERSHIP TEAM

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LAUREN DRAKE

GENERAL MANAGER

Lauren is an experienced hospitality professional who is dedicated to providing excellent service and care for people. With several years of experience in the hospitality industry, she has honed her problem-solving skills and continuously seeks to learn and improve her craft. In August 2022, Lauren joined Merchant after working at Lucille since September 2019, where she started as a host and progressed to become a Shift Lead, FOH Manager, and AGM. Lauren embodies our core values of collaboration, inclusivity, and she exhibits endless willingness to selflessly go the extra mile in every situation. Her kindness is cherished by all who work alongside her.  Lauren is committed to ensuring that the Merchant kitchen, bar and front of house are all working seamlessly to provide warm, energetic and genuine service to the guest.   

"I believe that hospitality is not just about serving food and drinks, it's about creating an experience and building meaningful connections with people. At Merchant, I am dedicated to providing the best possible service and care to our guests, and ensuring that every aspect of their experience is seamless and memorable."

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PAUL BOLLAND

EXECUTIVE CHEF

Paulie brings to Merchant extensive experience and passion to this role. Paulie grew up in Stoughton, Wisconsin in a close knit family setting. He reminisces about living on the same block with his family and extended family including his aunt and his grandmother.  His grandmother would make comforting food, (including warm sticky buns for breakfast). Paulie, please make these for us!  Paulie became the de facto assistant to his grandmother from an early age preparing large family meals and honing his passion for cooking and pleasing others. This passion has carried Paulie to complete a culinary education at MATC. He has worked in high volume settings such as the Concourse Hotel here in town, but is really drawn to upscale bar-driven New American concepts.  Paulie has over six years experience working in Chicago at The Purple Pig, Bangers & Lace, Atwood, The Pump Room inside The Public Hotel, and BLVD.  After returning to Madison, Paulie earned the title of Sous Chef at Graze and worked there for three years. Prior to the re-opening, Paulie joined Merchant and has been an absolute stalwart in our kitchen, working behind the scenes to push quality, professionalism, and communication.  He is excited to work in a leadership capacity and to continue to pursue our mission statement to create a more sustainable life and home life for the restaurant industry.

"As a leader in the kitchen, my main goal is to create an environment where everyone feels supported and empowered to bring their best ideas and skills to the table. I believe that the key to success is to build a strong team that works well together and is committed to creating delicious, comforting food that our guests will love. By fostering a culture of collaboration, respect, and creativity, we can continue to push the boundaries of what's possible in the kitchen and deliver amazing dining experiences for our guests."

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ROSE QUINLAN

FRONT OF HOUSE MANAGER

Rose is a tenured hospitality professional, starting her journey with RNO as a food runner at Lucille in 2021. Since joining the Merchant team in July of 2022, Rose has worked tirelessly through many Front of House and Bar positions, and has flourished as a leader and Shift Lead over the past year. Rose moved into the Merchant Front of House Manager position in Fall of 2023. Rose is committed to building a kind and genuine team, and always leads by example. With our Front of House under her lead, she pushes the team to focus on strong teamwork, hospitality, and inspires passion among our staff. in 2023 Rose graduated from the University of Madison Wisconsin with a bachelor's degree in psychology and a certificate in gender and women's studies.

"I am grateful for the opportunities that have come our way and the recognition that we have received. I am committed to constantly improving myself and my skills, and I believe that it's this dedication that has allowed me and our team to progress. I'm grateful for the support and guidance of my colleagues, and I'm always looking for ways to learn and grow as a bartender and leader."

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PETER PLASMAN

SOUS CHEF

Pete is a highly skilled cook joining Merchant upon its reopening in June of 2022.  Pete comes to Merchant having worked in various restaurants, including Fresco Restaurant, in Madison, WI, First and Oak Restaurant, in Santa Barbara County, Harvest Restaurant and Nadia's Restaurant, in Madison, WI.  Pete attended Madison Area Technical College Culinary School from 2005 to 2008.

"As a leader in the kitchen, my main goal is to create an environment where everyone feels supported and empowered to bring their best ideas and skills to the table. I believe that the key to success is to build a strong team that works well together and is committed to creating delicious, comforting food that our guests will love. By fostering a culture of collaboration, respect, and creativity, we can continue to push the boundaries of what's possible in the kitchen and deliver amazing dining experiences for our guests."

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 Alec joined the Merchant team in July of 2022, soon after he moved to Madison. Alec grew up in the Chicago area, worked in many restaurants around northern Illinois. Alec attended Elgin Community College for their culinary program from 2017-2019. Since joining Merchant, Alec has pushed the kitchen team to further their culinary education and showcase their passion every shift they work. 

ALEC LAPPA

SOUS CHEF

"Being a part of this team, especially on the leadership level, has been a great joy for me. I value coming into work, seeing my teammates, and knowing that we will devote our skill and passion into everything we do in the kitchen. The culture of our team drives me to be a great leader and empower our line cooks to continue growing and pushing themselves." 

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SAILOR REYNOLDS

SHIFT LEAD

Sailor is a seasoned hospitality professional with extensive experience across the front of the house.  Prior to becoming Shift Lead, Sailor worked as a Floor Manager overseeing the guest experience while keeping an open line of communication between fellow employees and managers. Sailor is known by her team as someone who prioritizes excellent communication with guests to meet their needs, questions, and concerns.  She has a positive attitude and professional demeanor, and her warm and infectious personality has made her a valuable team player at Merchant.  Sailor previously worked as Lead Host at Lucille in Madison, where she demonstrated her exceptional communication skills by guiding and supervising fellow employees and ensuring a seamless guest experience. Sailor is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in Communication Science & Rhetorical Study at the University of Wisconsin Madison. She previously earned an Associate of Arts in Social Science from Madison Area Technical College in 2022 and completed a Pre-College Course in Photography & Fine Art at the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design in 2017.

"Working in a close-knit team committed to service excellence and fun is incredibly rewarding. When everyone is dedicated to providing the best possible experience for our guests, it creates a positive work environment that makes coming to work every day something to look forward to. It's amazing how much we can accomplish when we work together and support each other's strengths."

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MOLLY PHILLIPS

SHIFT LEAD/LEAD SERVER

Molly is a humble and approachable individual who thrives in close-knit teams. Her exceptional teamwork skills and ability to foster a positive work environment make her an invaluable asset to the Merchant team.  With her extensive experience in the service industry as a bartender and server, Molly has gained a deep understanding of how to bridge the gap between the kitchen and the floor, translating the team's efforts to provide an exceptional customer experience. In addition to her teamwork skills, Molly's background in the arts, including her Bachelor of Arts degree with a minor in Arts Management, emphasizing in Music, makes her a well-rounded individual with a unique perspective.

"I feel privileged to be part of a team that shares a common passion for providing exceptional customer service and taking pride in their work. It's truly inspiring to be surrounded by such skilled and dedicated individuals who work collaboratively to achieve our goals. I am excited to contribute my skills and knowledge to the team and continue to learn from my colleagues."

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