General Manager of Food and Beverage
With over twenty years in the industry, John Williams brings a wealth of experience to his role of general manager at Mercat a la Planxa. A native of Cleveland, Ohio, he attended Wittenberg University to study psychology but decided to change his career path upon graduating. He moved to Boston where he took on several front of house positions in restaurants throughout the city, culminating in his role as managing partner at the contemporary French concept Circle Restaurant. After honing his skills in management and wine service, he returned home to Cleveland to work as regional director of operations for multi-concept group K&D Restaurants.
At a turning point in his career, he left K&D Restaurants to work with Cleveland’s renowned chef Dante Boccuzzi in the creation of his three fine dining concepts Ginko, DC Pasta, and D.B.A. Having studied under Master Sommelier Patrick Dubsky, he harnessed his vast wine knowledge to help develop a private label wine for each restaurant. After a few years at home, he returned to Boston where he worked with Fairmont Hotels as the director of outlets as well as the Aquitaine Group as general manager.
In 2015, he made the move to work with Sage Restaurant Group at their modern farm-to-table steakhouse Urban Farmer’s Philadelphia location. He excelled in his role as assistant general manager of food and beverage and grew in the restaurant group before rising to the position of general manager of food and beverage at Mercat a la Planxa. His move to Chicago is a welcome one for the Midwest native, and he has truly found a home at the South Loop Spanish restaurant. He aims to provide guests with the best possible experience, noting, “My goal is not to expect 100% of guests to be happy when dining with us…my goal is that 100% of guests leave happy.”