Monday, February 2, 2009

Michael Linehan


“Mike and I met over lunch a few months ago courtesy of an introduction by our mutual friend David Mammano. Before we first sat down, I knew he was young, ambitious, and connected to a prestigious Rochester family, but I had no idea what to expect. At that point, I was pleased to find a down to earth man with tremendous charisma and an infectious laugh. The conversation lasted for over an hour at the newest restaurant in his personal business repertoire, Coppergrass Bistro (Farm Fresh Kitchen at the time). He was wonderfully generous with his time and knowledge and we enjoyed a fantastic meal together. Since then I’ve started serving at Coppergrass part time and have come to think very highly of the business operation Michael and his team run; three Rochester Camille’s Sidewalk Caf├ęs and Coppergrass Bistro, a seasonal gourmet restaurant in Pittsford Plaza. He is a true visionary and it is an honor and a pleasure to feature some of his insights!” ~Joseph & Bigger Impact Weekly team

Having grown up in such a well known, successful family, what is it that motivated you to live the entrepreneurial life you lead now?

One of the things I remember my mother saying to me growing up was; “You’ve got to go out and make it yourself. You can’t depend on falling back on the family.” That really stuck with me and as a result, I’ve always been super ambitious. Part of it I’m sure is my genes, but much of the family lineage has had that passion. There have been many entrepreneurs in the ranks on both my father and my mother’s side.

What advice would you give to the people of Western New York?

There’s a lot of opportunity here. We have access to some tremendous colleges and universities right in our backyard. It’s a comfortable place to live with a high quality of life. And, for a person that wants to raise a family it’s a fantastic place to do that.

One of the biggest things I’ve learned in business thus far is experience is the most valuable tool out there. Always be open to learning new ideas and improving things you’re already doing. Educating yourself is essential. Surround yourself with the smartest people possible and really listen to them.

Why should someone live in Western New York?

It’s funny because my three siblings all live out of town now and my parents are snowbirds, so I’m the only one here braving the winters. But, I do have a huge family and a lot of good friends here. The truth is it’s a really nice community. People really care about the town and Rochester has a lot to offer. I love the quality of life I have here; with short commutes and some major cities only a short plane ride away.

What are some of your goals going forward?

Going forward, my business ambitions revolve around looking into new restaurant concepts and continuing the success of the current portfolio. Ultimately, the long term vision is to find a concept that we can grow outside of Rochester and hopefully go nationally. But, for right now, we’re slowing down and making sure the businesses we’re already in are operating as well as possible.

Michael can be reached at: Mike@CoppergrassBistro.com