Xan McLaughlin

Years of Participation

A native of Virginia Beach, VA, Xan attended James Madison University, while he worked his way through school with multiple restaurant jobs and encouragement from his parents, who are both veterans of the culinary industry. Upon graduation from James Madison University in 2004, Xan accepted a corporate job but quickly decided it was not for him, so he set off for the bright lights of Las Vegas. He spent several years learning the intricacies of the fast-paced bar business with jobs at Casino Monte Lago as a bartender and bar manager. He then moved on to Reflection Bay Resort as bar manager for three years where he managed the bar for celebrity fundraisers, concerts, and the resort’s private yacht. On his journey back east in 2007, he took a detour through Charleston, SC, fell in love with the coastal city, and decided to make it his new home. He first helped open Chai’s Lounge on Upper King Street, then served as manager of its sister restaurant, Basil, until 2011. He also worked as a bartender at other popular Charleston restaurants, Fig and The Ordinary. In 2013, Xan heard about a new project that veteran restaurateur Karalee Fallert was developing on the upper peninsula of Charleston. Realizing he was ready to take a leap of faith, he joined forces with her as operating partner of The Park Cafe. Together, they opened the doors in February 2014 and have since established the neighborhood cafe as one of the most beloved restaurants in town. In early 2018, Xan took on the role of beverage director for Karalee’s other restaurants: Taco Boy(s) and the forthcoming Wiki Wiki Sandbar on Folly Beach. He is also in the process of launching a charity he co-founded called Bread & Butter whose mission will be to offer a culinary arts program for inner-city schools in Charleston with the ultimate goal of placing them in a local restaurant kitchen upon completion.
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