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About Us

People have always been at the heart of any Marcus business - be it those that they serve or those doing the serving. It's no surprise then, that when breaking into the restaurant industry, Ben Marcus saw what others didn't. Partnering with some of the great visionaries of his time like Bob Wian (founder of the Big Boy brand) and "Colonel" Harland Sanders, Marcus knew what the Midwest needed, and just how to treat them right.

Though the restaurants have changed, people remain the beating heart of the business, and today's team reflects that same raw talent that Ben uncovered so many years ago. Headquartered in the heartland that is Milwaukee, Wisconsin, our team of managerial and culinary visionaries are now spreading that Marcus Magic from coast to coast.

 

Executive Leadership

Peggy Williams-Smith

Peggy Williams-Smith

Vice President of Food & Beverage

Peggy was born with hospitality surging through her veins - rumor has it, she was offering up a hot meal and cold beverage to the doctors and nurses at her own birth! Her career with Marcus started in 1997 as a Catering Manager at the Hilton Milwaukee. Since then, she has climbed the ranks and leads her team with that age old Marcus adage of "People Pleasing People."

When she's not serving her team or the great guests of the Marcus Restaurant Group, Peggy can be found as a leading member in a number of local charities, such as TEMPO Milwaukee, American Heart Association, and United Cerebral Palsy of Southeastern Wisconsin. Additionally, she also volunteers with Junior Achievement, United Way, Best Buddies and the United Performing Arts Fund (UPAF). (Good thing we serve Starbucks® in our cafés to keep her moving!)

Restaurants are a risky business, with a high rate of failure – what do you think makes Marcus a success?
I truly believe that the reason behind our success is that we serve real food for real people. We address trends through specials and seasonality, but the core menus in all of restaurants stay very simple. Great food with great flavors made by great chefs.

 

Where can we find you in your “off-time”? What are you eating?
Eating out is a hazard of my job. I am frequently on the road traveling to our many properties. Castile at The Hotel Zamora has an incredible Mediterranean inspired restaurant. I am partial to their Grouper Cheeks.
When I am in Milwaukee, where we are headquartered, you can find me at Bosley on Brady when I want seafood, AP Kitchen when I want tapas, Carnevor when I want to be pampered and Bacchus when I want to feel like a grown up. If I am looking for a cocktail experience, The Hamilton and when I want to let my hair down – The Holler House or Mavericks on the south side.

 

We know you "love all the properties equally," but we’re going to make you play favorites. Best thing you ever ate, Marcus edition: go!
At Kil@wat a few years ago, Chef Robert Ash (way ahead of the trend) did a Yellowtail Tuna Tartare with jalapeno. It was out of this world. It was also ahead of the raw fish trend hitting Milwaukee – before Umami, Screaming Tuna, etc. After a season of being on the menu the restaurant decided to take it off, much to my chagrin. When I asked why – they said, according to their sales mix – I was the only one ordering it. That taught me an important lesson: Just because I like something doesn’t’ necessarily mean it is going to sell. Right now, my go to items are the surf fried clams followed by the Mason Street Chopped Salad and capped off by the Bone-In Filet at Mason Street Grill.

Edward Carrella

Edward Carrella

Director of Restaurants

Edward was born and bread in food and beverage, as he grew up in the Chicago south side Italian pizzeria that his family owned and operated. Knowing that hospitality was in his blood, Carrella continued on to college where he studied hospitality management to further immerse himself in the industry. Upon graduation, he worked for some of the top names in the business before joining the Marcus Restaurant Group as General Manager of the Mason Street Grill in Milwaukee. Edward says that growing up his family expressed their love by cooking and taking care of guests, so it's no surprise that he should join the Marcus family and aim to do just the same.

Food trends come and go. What has been your favorite so far, and what would you like to see come to the forefront in the future?
My favorite has been the sharable/tapas trend. More and more people are eating charcuterie, meats, cheeses, olives, flatbreads, hummus and sharing everything. I love to graze and try different things.

 

Tipping is a touchy subject – what are your tips for those looking to get involved in the restaurant industry?
The restaurant industry is such a diverse and humbling industry. Whenever I talk to young adults during career fairs or education foundation events, I always stress the importance of getting involved in the restaurant industry. I believe that our industry offers such a dynamic work environment. Where else can you get experience in sales and marketing, event management, culinary, guest relations, accounting and facilities maintenance all in one industry?  It truly is a career with endless opportunities.

 

What is the most important aspect of hospitality?
Hiring and training people that have the true passion for hospitality. I always say this business is not for everyone. You must enjoy being around people and get satisfaction from entertaining others.

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