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Food & Dining // Food & Beverage Focus
Jo McGarry

David Nagaishi

Jo McGarry photo

General Manager,
Shore Bird/Ocean House Waikiki

Where were you born and raised? Honolulu.

What was your first job in the restaurant industry? Washing dishes at Kuhio Grill in Moiliili – way back.

So, what was it that appealed to you and made you want to stay in the industry from an early age? It was fun. But I also liked how it was busy and there was always so much going on. And you got to eat. Not too many jobs that are exciting and you get to eat good food too. (laughs).

You are definitely a “front of house” person. Did that come naturally to you, the ability to be able to interact well with people? Yes, I think so. I was working for a time bussing tables, and I remember thinking that I really liked people so much that I decided to always work in the dining room, if possible.

Dealing with the general public can be a little challenging at times, don’t you think? (Laughs.) No, it’s easy. People come to a restaurant to enjoy themselves. I never heard anyone say they wanted to go out and have a bad time. So our job is to enhance that experience, to make it better than they could have imagined. Or, at the very least, make sure they have a good time.

How’s Ocean House after the recent fire in the kitchen? We’re doing good and we’ll be open some time in July. The dining room wasn’t damaged, but it’s been a nice opportunity for us to freshen things up and remodel a little. It should be real nice when we open in July.

Meanwhile, I hear you guys are serving some amazing summer value at Shore Bird these next few weeks. Shore Bird is the most fun restaurant, and the lunch is incredible. We grind our own meats, so our burgers are made with certified Angus beef and strip loin and sirloin, and they’re hand-pressed. It’s the best burger you’ll ever taste. Summer specials offer an 8-ounce sirloin with all-you-can-eat salad bar for $14.95 from 4 to 5.30 p.m. every day. You can’t beat that!

With whom would you most like to have dinner at Ocean House? My wife, Wendy, because we rarely see each other. She works daytime; I work nights. We’ve been married a long time, so I guess it works.

If you hadn’t been in the restaurant industry, what might you have been?

You know, there’s nothing I would rather have done.

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