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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."




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."




Abe Konneh's journey began in a small city in Liberia, and he moved to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, at a young age. After struggling to learn English, he attended a Montessori school that allowed him to learn independently. Later, he attended a Catholic private school for middle and high school. Upon graduation, he joined the military as an ammunition specialist but later transitioned to the reserves to pursue a college education. Initially pursuing dentistry, and then cyber security, Abe discovered a passion for service industry landing a position as a barback at Lucille, and despite having no prior knowledge of alcohol, he to worked his way up to lead bartender. Abe's curiosity, humility, hard work, willingness to learn, and leadership skills have been instrumental in his tremendous growth as a bartender and now Bar Manager of Merchant. His commitment to constant improvement and dedication to his craft have earned him a reputation as a respected and reliable team member. Today, Abe continues to inspire others with his work ethic and passion for bartending, while always striving to learn and improve.

"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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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.  Peter 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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Daniel Albain is an experienced hospitality professional with a passion for creating exceptional experiences for guests. With over six years of experience working in various positions such as Server, Bartender, Supervisor, and Front Desk Manager, he has developed a deep understanding of how to deliver top-notch customer service and exceed guest expectations. In addition to his hospitality experience, Daniel is an accomplished DJ and artist, bringing a unique perspective to his role as Shift Lead with a unique ability to understand Merchant as a venue and stage for expression of our craft.

"I've worked at many restaurants and bars throughout my career in the service industry, but Merchant stands out as having the most passionate and driven staff. It's been amazing working with such a tight-knit crew! You can really feel that camaraderie and teamwork shining through in the awesome food and service we provide here. I look forward to seeing what we can accomplish in the future as we continually work to evolve and improve our restaurant."

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Kyra is a certified Wine and Spirits educator, coming to Merchant after working as the Wine Director at Cambridge Winery. With 9 years of restaurant experience, she brings a great blend of skills and expertise to the table. Apart from her work with wine, Kyra is a talented musician, playing violin and salsa dancing. She is also fluent in Brazilian Portuguese. Prior to her current role, Kyra worked at L'Etoile as a Server, where she was responsible for providing excellent customer service and training new staff.

"I believe that good food and wine have the power to bring people together and create unforgettable experiences. There's something magical about watching someone take that first bite or sip and seeing their eyes light up with delight. It's a privilege to be able to create those moments for others and share my passion for fine dining and wine with them."

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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 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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