when sean fowler opened mandolin restaurant just around the corner from our house, we couldn’t have been more stoked about having a neighborhood treasure within walking distance.
perfect for special occasions, a lazy sunday brunch, or an impromptu evening out, mandolin has been an almost weekly staple for us since opening in raleigh in two years ago.
with offerings as delicious as they are photo-worthy, the food is a celebration of fresh farm-to-table ingredients combined sean’s extensive training in jackson hole and the esteemed fearrington house restaurant in chapel hill.
think party in the front, business in the back — mandolin accomplishes what every fine dining restaurant aims to, but manages to keep it a casual and inviting destination that could easily tempt you on an evening stroll to pull up an outside table for dessert and a glass of wine. it’s not surprising that i tend to end up overserved there (walking home is a plus!) — the cocktails are too tasty to turn down, and the wine list is impressive. lizzie, sean’s wife adds to the southern charm of the restaurant with her gorgeous flowers, inside and out.
some furbish friends and i spent a lovely evening with sean and lizzie last week, trying some of the stars of their seasonal menu. see below the pics for a q & a with sean.
now tell me this doesn’t make your mouth water…
photography by gary meyer
years in business
number of employees
where do you find inspiration
farms, cookbooks, markets, nature
what gets you most excited about getting out of bed in the morning
new dishes, new ingredients, the chance to get better
the culture of your business in three words
fresh, friendly, gracious
what’s your 5 year plan
favorite place to travel
what scares you the most – business or otherwise
mentor in your field
bootstrapping vs. funding
three most important characteristics of an entrepreneur
hard-working, undaunted, adaptable
what’s your current state of mind
which words or phrases do you most often overuse?
work hard or work smart?
your biggest extravagance
kitchen equipment, flowers
one piece of advice you’d give to a prospective entrepreneur
plan, plan, and plan, before you start writing checks
what one word do you want to own in the minds of your customers, employees and partners?
thoughts on failure?
failure is a necessary part of success
favorite spots in raleigh
el rey del taco taqueria, mandolin garden, waraji