FANWOOD, NJ – Mara’s Bakery and Café has announced the appointment of a new general manager, Chef Paul Micheal O’Loughlin.
“We are thrilled that he has joined our team,” said owner Marci Semel. “He brings great experience and energy to Mara’s.”
Born and raised in Plainfield, O’Loughlin left in 1999 to go to college and then to culinary school. “I worked my way up from dishwashing, to grill cook, to chef to restaurant management and now I’m the General Manager, where I can put all this experience to work,” said O’Loughlin.
O’Loughlin found that the small-town pace of Fanwood suits him at this point in his career and life. “My wife and I had twins and that changed things. Now, being home at night is a priority – one that was hard to do in a traditional restaurant because of the late hours,” said O’Loughlin. “Now, I have more family-friendly hours and I still have time to do a few catering jobs through my own catering company with the full support of Mara’s.”
O’Loughlin wants to build on the family theme already established by Semel since the Grand Opening in July, by having a board game night, lots of entertainment and a suggestion box for patrons to say what they would like to see.
“I really want people to come up to me and tell me what needs to change as well as what they love about Mara’s,” said O’Loughlin. “I never want anyone to leave with a bad taste in their mouth if their service or food was not up to their expectations. I want to always exceed expectations, always be bringing in new things and make Mara’s a place every family wants to be-I’m all about making people happy.”
One of the first changes on the agenda is to be open for Thanksgiving morning from 6:30 to 11:30 a.m. for coffee and pies only. “Families can come in, have a cup of coffee and pick up a holiday dessert and head back for their big dinner. Or, you can place a catering order ahead of time and simply come pick it up,” said O’Loughlin.
“We want to create customers for life, so I encourage everyone to come up and introduce themselves and let me know how I can make you happy,” concluded O’Loughlin.