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Rising Stars: Mike Minelli on taking ownership of his first restaurant

Greenville, S.C. restaurateur Carl Sobocinski is selling his concepts to employees. Here’s how one of those new owners is getting a fresh start


The Rising Star videos focus on up-and-coming chefs and restaurateurs who Restaurant Hospitality feels are poised for success. These are folks that have a story to tell about culinary innovation, operational genius or beyond-the-horizon thinking that we think gives them the potential for greatness. Do you know a Rising Star? Let us know their story: [email protected]

Mike Minelli and his wife Jen Rogers officially became owners of their first restaurant on Jan. 1, 2021. But their path to ownership has been very different from that of most restaurant operators.

Minelli and Rogers have taken ownership of Passerelle Bistro in Greenville, S.C., a charming indoor/outdoor spot overlooking Reedy River waterfalls. It was previously part of Table 301, a multiconcept group based there and owned by Carl Sobocinski, whose restaurants are a core part of the Greenville dining scene.

Several years ago, Sobocinski created what he calls a “legacy plan,” essentially allowing team members to acquire the concepts they work in. So far, the group has sold the concepts Papi’s Tacos and the Italian concept Jianna — both bought by employees.

Passerelle is the third to spin off from the group. Minelli was previously the restaurant’s general manager and Rogers was executive chef — they met while working at the restaurant and later married and also launched a family.

Listen to Minelli tell their story, and their plans for Passerelle Bistro.

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