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Food & Dining // Food & Beverage Focus
Jo McGarry

Travis John Hyatt

Jo McGarry photo

Jo McGarry photo

Manager,Macaroni Grill Ala Moana Center

Where were you born and raised? I was born in Salt Lake City, Utah, and I have been here in Hawaii for eight amazing years and never plan on leaving.

Did you grow up around people who cooked? Yes, my father, his name is Travis as well, was a chef in his younger days. He spent a lot of time showing me how to cook and teaching me.

What’s the one dish that reminds you of the holidays? My grandma’s cooking. Especially her turkey dinner and her freshly made pumpkin pies.

What was your first job in the restaurant industry? I first started when I was 16 as a busser at Red Lobster and Chili’s.

Enthusiasm aside, what is the most important quality you need to get through the holiday season in a busy restaurant? I think it’s important to remember that the guests are trying to leave all of their stress behind them when they come to the restaurant. They are most likely tired of long lines and people and of shopping, and we need to help them forget that. We are here to offer them amazing service, food and memories that can last a lifetime. It helps me to remember that when we get busy.

With whom would you most like to have a special Christmas dinner? My mother. She’s not with us anymore, and I would love to have one more dinner with her and talk story.

Do you cook at home? If so, what’s your best dish? Yes, I love cooking, although not exactly at home. My favorite thing to do is grill steak and burgers on a barbecue at the beach. It takes talent, especially keeping the sand out of the food while cooking for all the friends and family usually gathered there!

What’s always in your fridge? With frozen pizza you can never go wrong.

Where will you be eating out this holiday season once the busy restaurant rush is over? At my house with my island family.

Who have your mentors in the industry been thus far? Honestly, I really look up to my managers here at Romano’s: Eva, Kunani and Chef Nawai. I have learned so much from them all, and hopefully that makes me a well-rounded manager.

What might surprise us about you? My passion is racing – muscle cars, four-wheeling and bullet bikes.

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