The last time Molly Wakenshaw had a job interview, she was sixteen and applying to work for the first time—at Pagliacci. Now, fourteen years later, she decided to throw her name into the ring for general manager of our newest store. Located across from the Ballard Locks in the Shilshole neighborhood, the store is expected to be busy.
“I was happy as the General Manager of Ballinger but was ready for a new challenge,” says Molly. With a wealth of experience as a GM at three different Pagliacci stores, including being the GM responsible for opening our busy Columbia City store, Molly aced the interview.
“I’m excited to open this new location in this historic part of Seattle,” says Molly. “I used to live in Ballard and love the neighborhood.” Molly is a proven leader who also joined the opening teams at our Mercer Island and Sammamish stores.
As many know, opening a new restaurant is famously challenging. Even though this is our 25th location, we’re always learning how to get even better at it. Molly has been busy interviewing and hiring a crew for the new store and we will move experienced cooks and managers over to help train and support the new staff.
“Our busiest location, 85th Street, is in Ballard. People know us around here, which helps,” says Molly. “Additionally, Pagliacci has developed and streamlined its training program. It feels good to have a great team behind you.”
Molly is recently coming off a four-week sabbatical, a perk Pagliacci offers to GMs who have been at Pagliacci for ten years. “The sabbatical is an amazing benefit that Pagliacci offers,” says Molly. “Pagliacci has done so much for me—it just seems like it keeps getting better. I’ve gone on all these company trips—Hawaii twice, Key West, San Diego—I’ve got lots of PTO, I go out for all these amazing dinners, and now on top of it, you’re going to give me four paid weeks off that I have to take off all at once!”
With the new store opening coming up, Molly decided not to travel. “I felt like what I wanted was to stay at home and have zero plans for a month and do whatever came up,” says Molly. She saw her brothers, visited with her parents, took in some Mariners games, overnighted at a cabin at Whidbey Island beach house, slept in, and relaxed.
As the warmer weather draws more visitors to the Ballard Locks and construction at the new store wraps up, Molly is well prepared for her new challenge. “I learned a lot from opening Columbia City,” she says. “I know there will be bumps in the road, but those challenges keep you on your toes.”