You see them in our restaurants each day, stopping by for quick chat or checking in to make sure that you are enjoying your experience. But have you ever wanted to know more about Miss Shirley's Managers?
The management team at Miss Shirley’s Cafe is comprised of a group of diverse and talented team members, who all share a strong passion for customer service & hostpitality. Each manager, with his or her unique background, brings something new and meaningful to the Miss Shirley's team!
Learn more about Miss Shirley's Managers below!
Stephanie, District Manager
Favorite Miss Shirley’s Dish: “The Maryland Omelet – anything with Old Bay is a hands down winner!”
Favorite part about working at Miss Shirley’s: “The food of course! I love that we change the menu seasonally and offer options that you can’t find anywhere else.”
Stephanie’s restaurant career began at the age of 17 as a server at a local Baltimore cafe. After being promoted to a Manager position in that restaurant, Stephanie decided to take on a second job as a server at Miss Shirley’s original location in Roland Park. When the restaurant relocated to it’s current space across the street, Stephanie came on full time, and soon began managing and training under David Dopkin, son of Miss Shirley’s late founder and present day Managing Member of Miss Shirley’s Cafe.
Always an overachiever, Stephanie also soon began serving and managing at two other restaurants within Crazy Man Restaurant Group (now Miss Shirley’s Management Company) during the evening hours. And at one point, she was managing on and off at both Miss Shirley’s Roland Park & Inner Harbor locations, as well as at all 4 of the other restaurants within the company!
In 2011, Stephanie was an integral part in opening Miss Shirley’s Annapolis location and soon became the new location’s first General Manager. Since then, she has been promoted to the position of District Manager for all 3 Miss Shirley’s Cafe locations.
With over 16 years of experience as a restaurant manager, her accomplishments have not gone unnoticed. In 2015, Stephanie was presented with an Award to thank her for a Decade of Leadership & Dedication to Miss Shirley’s Cafe. And this year, she received recognition from SmartCEO Magazine as part of their Executive Management Awards! But, her favorite recognitions come from her guests. “It’s a huge compliment when a guest tells you that you’re doing a great job.”
In fact, Stephanie says that her passion for the hospitality industry is all about the people. “I love meeting new people every day, both team members and guests!”
Her most memorable moment at Miss Shirley’s was when she was able to take part in a surprise homecoming for a soldier. “A soldier who was deployed had returned home. His parents and grandparents were unaware that he was hiding in the back of the restaurant when they arrived. The look on their faces when I brought him to the table was priceless. I know that is a day that they will never forget, and I was glad to be a part of it!”
As a Manager, Stephanie is, by all means, an overachiever. Her high energy, determination and attention to detail are unparalleled, and her consistent management style makes her someone that both our team members and guests can always rely on.
In her free time, Stephanie loves spending time with her twin daughters, and exploring Maryland. “We love doing the tourist thing and seeing what Baltimore has to offer, like the Aquarium and Zoo!”
Joel, General Manager – Roland Park
Favorite Miss Shirley’s Dish: “I love the Cuban Huevos Sandwich. The flavor profile is absolutely amazing, from the tenderness of the slow cooked pulled pork to the slight kick of the creole mustard!”
Favorite part about working at Miss Shirley’s: “As a neighborhood spot, we have a ton of regular guests and over the years, I have come to know them well. I love sitting down for a minute and catching up, or just stopping by the table for a quick hello. It’s nice to grow these relationships with our guests.”
Joel’s career in the hospitality industry began at the young age of 14, working as a cashier at a fast food chain, to fund a trip to Disney World with his best friend’s family. After earning enough to enjoy his vacation, Joel continued to work in the industry at several different fast casual and full service restaurants. “I have done every job in the industry from dishwasher and cashier to server and manager.”
At the age of 18, Joel got his first Manager position at a Bertucci’s, and has continued working in restaurant management for 23 years! He says that his love for the hospitality industry comes from the relationships it has brought into his life.
“Interacting with guests and building relationships is what it’s all about. I want people to feel like they are a guest in my house – I treat our team and guests like family because I always want them to feel at home coming to work or to eat.”
Joel’s passion for people shows in his management style. Each and every day, he does all that he can to ensure that his guests are well taken care of – even if it means performing CPR!
“I was managing at a restaurant one night and an elderly man went into cardiac arrest. It just so happens that I am certified in CPR and with the help of a nurse at a nearby table, we performed CPR for 20 minutes before the paramedics arrived. A month or so later, the man’s daughter and her husband came to the restaurant and both gave me a huge hug, thanking me for helping save her father’s life.”
As a manager, Joel also understands the importance of making work enjoyable for his team at Roland Park. Not only does he lead our team at Roland Park, but he does so with a contagious energy and wit that brings life to the restaurant. “I want my team to love coming to work each day.”
Outside of work, Joel and his wife of 22 years are huge foodies! They love trying out all of the local restaurants in Maryland, as well as spending time with their 3 children, attending their kids’ sports and extra curricular activities.
Raised in Maryland, Joel is a diehard Ravens & Orioles fan! “What I love most about living in Maryland is that you are so close to everything. You are only a short drive from the beach or the mountains. And Baltimore has to be the greatest city in America – there is always something to do.”
Kelly, General Manager - Inner Harbor
Favorite Miss Shirley’s Dish: “Get Your Grits On with Blackened Shrimp. It’s such a unique twist on a classic dish and the Fried Green Tomato takes it to a whole new level!”
Favorite part about working at Miss Shirley’s: “I love being a part of a company that continuously inspires us to improve, both personally and professionally. The teams’ opinions and ideas are always encouraged and open for discussion.”
Kelly is Miss Shirley’s resident alcohol connoisseur, communicating with the restaurant’s beer, wine & liquor reps to help find great products that allow us to create our delicious seasonal cocktails. So, it’s no surprise that Kelly’s career in the hospitality industry began at a brew pub!
“My cousin was a server at a local brew pub and talked me into applying for a serving job. I loved the energy of the atmosphere and learning about everything that went on behind the scenes in the restaurant.”
From there, Kelly learned multiple positions in the restaurant and noticed some room for improvement, working with the management team. In 2003, she stepped into her first role as a manager, and has been working in restaurants ever since.
“I like that restaurants are a meeting place for countless reasons. Whether it’s celebrating a family event or a place to escape when you’re having a bad day, a restaurant is a place where you’re made to feel at home. I love restaurants with a family feel, where you feel welcome.”
And that’s exactly what she found in Miss Shirley’s Cafe! Kelly came to Miss Shirley’s in 2011 as the General Manager of our Inner Harbor location, and has since become an invaluable member of our management team.
She is hardworking, organized and detail oriented. “I am consistent in what I expect from my team and I always try to give them fair and constructive feedback to help them grow and achieve their goals.”
Kelly’s dedication is demonstrated each and every day in the work of her team, and guests take notice! “A guest recently complimented us on how professional and friendly our team was during a busy weekend. They said that even with a large volume of guests, they felt like they were at home in their grandmother’s kitchen. That’s always the goal.”
Her favorite guest memory was when a regular guest’s son got engaged and they brought the entire family to Miss Shirley’s the next day. “They said they HAD to come to their favorite restaurant to share the news and celebrate with their favorite foods!”
If she is not at Miss Shirley’s, Kelly is with her husband and 2 children, spending time outdoors. They especially love taking the kids to explore the local farm nearby.
Favorite Miss Shirley’s Dish: “For breakfast, I would choose the Benne Seed Chicken ‘N Waffles. I love the Peppadew-Jalapeño Butter - I could use it on everything I eat! For lunch, my favorite is the Bay-O Po' Boy - the Tabasco Bacon Onion Jam is out of this world.”
Favorite part about working at Miss Shirley’s: “I love how our guests and team members are treated like family, and cared for as so.”
From a young age, Thomas knew that the restaurant industry was where he wanted to be. “My first job was as a boat washer, but about a month into washing boats, I was called to an interview as a busser at a local restaurant. A few weeks later, I left the marina to devote my time to learning the hospitality industry.”
Over the last 10 years, Thomas has had the opportunity to cross-train in a variety of restaurant roles including busser, dishwasher, bartender, server, line cook, & restaurant manager.
He was even voted “Best Server” by the public in the Cecil County Whig newspaper’s annual Cecil Favorites voting. “For people to take time out of their day to vote for me was incredibly humbling.”
Thomas attributes his passion for hospitality to his being a self-proclaimed ‘people pleaser.’ “I love knowing that I just helped make someone’s day or week. It’s amazing to know that a guest can come in on their worst day, sit down for a good meal and leave feeling a little better, just by having a memorable dining experience.”
In fact, one of his favorite guest memories happened while serving a young couple one evening. “We had a great conversation. A month or so went by and they ended up coming back on their wedding day, just to show me they got married! 5 years later, they still stop by to say hello and catch up. These types of connections make it all worth while.”
For Thomas, the same applies when managing a team – it’s all about building relationships. “As a leader, I would say my greatest quality is my ability to listen. I always strive to bring a positive energy to work, and let my fellow team members know that their feedback matters.”
Thomas accepted a Manager position at Miss Shirley’s Cafe just a few weeks ago, and is looking forward to learning more about our local family restaurant.
“The more I learn and know, the more I can nurture, teach and develop our team, and ensure that our guests leave completely satisfied after each and every visit!”
In his spare time, Thomas loves eating out and trying the local cuisine, especially Maryland crabs! “You can’t get Maryland crabs anywhere else – I think it makes them even more delicious!”
As a dog lover, Thomas also enjoys visiting the local animal shelters to spend time with the rescues and walk the dogs at area parks.