Monday, June 22, 2015
Don Wetherell – Triple Threat
New life has been breathed into our operation with the addition of Don Wetherell as our new Vice President of Restaurant Operations.
A New England native, Don is a triple threat – classically trained in restaurant and hospitality management, and seasoned by years of experience in both small and large restaurant establishments alike. Most recently, Don spent several years at Redd Wood in Yountville, and before that, nearly two decades with the Hillstone Group (that runs the iconic Napa dining spot on Highway 29 in the heart of the Napa Valley, the Rutherford Grill).
A Penn State grad, Don didn’t set out to be in hospitality. His sights were on a degree in Exercise Physiology, but after taking a leap year in Vail, Colorado, where he worked in the restaurant industry, Don returned and enrolled in Penn’s Hotel and Restaurant Program.
Don jokes that in his formative years, “I did time at Canyon Ranch in the Berkshires” (the super luxurious spa resort in western Massachusetts), where he worked as an outdoor guide. But his real inspiration comes from his mother, who had the opportunity to purchase a restaurant when Don was just a tyke. “She’s celebrating 40 years in business this October,” he says proudly.
Don’s been on the job almost six months now, and is currently helping to run the restaurant, work the floor, learn the culture, facilitate the management team and generally “tighten up service.” The best part of his new role is the “life/work balance” it affords him. Don not only tackles the day-to-day race of running our Wine Bar & Smokin’ BBQ, he’s a dedicated husband to a lovely wife and father to his toddler son, both of whom eagerly command his free time.
Back to shop talk, Don tells us he’s excited about “this block” referring to Bounty Hunter’s new building site at the corner of First and Main Streets in downtown Napa. It’s a blank slate, and it will be our mother-ship property. “I can’t wait to grow into our new digs,” he says, “I think of all the things we can do when we have the luxuries of a full kitchen, a sauté station and more real estate in general.” Being the detail-oriented type that he is, Don doesn’t see the devil in the details but rather the opportunity for improvement. Some might think it daunting, but Don just smiles…. ♠