325: The best defense is none with Michael Pazdon

In this episode, we discuss: being sincere, creating impacting relationships with both guests & team members, being genuine & authentic to yourself, starting small & scaling up, and getting experience before opening your own restaurant.

Originally from the Northeast, Michael Pazdon started sinking his teeth into the hospitality industry after moving to New York City in 1999. It was his time in NYC when he fell in love with food and drink. After 11 years in New York, he moved to Napa Valley and ended up staying there for over 5 years. Around 2015, it was time to head back home to the Northeast where today, Michael is the Founder and Mixologist of the Wallingford Dram in Kittery, ME.

Show notes…

Favorite Success Quote or Mantra.

“It’s not weird.”

“If it’s not fun it’s not worth doing.”

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Career Challenge or Failure

“We fail every day and you need to embrace that.”

Knowledge bombs:

  1. Which “it factor” habit, trait, or characteristic you believe most contributes to your success?

    “The fact that I believe the best defense is none.”

  2. What is your biggest weakness?

    “Same as question one.”

  3. What is one piece of advice you have for leading others?

    “Honesty. Also, don’t think about what you want to get out of people; think about what people want to get out of life.”

  4. What’s one question you ask or thing you look for during an interview?

    “What do you want to be when you grow up?”

  5. What’s a current challenge? How are you dealing with it?

    “Opening a new restaurant.”

  6. What’s one thing (besides food) your restaurant does well and separates you from other restaurants?

    “Creating personal connections with people. I can remember what drink you ordered a year ago.”

  7. What’s one book we must read to become a better person or restaurant owner?

    “I think that’s different for everyone. Find inspiration in other places besides food and restaurant writing.”


  8. What’s one piece of technology you’ve adopted in your restaurant and how has it influence operations?

    Evernote– Collect, nurture, and share ideas across desktop and mobile platforms with Evernote. Your thoughts are always with you, always accessible, always in sync.

  9. With all the knowledge you have now if you could go back in time and give your past self one piece of business advice, What would it be and why?

    “Business courses. Also, take a year to learn how to repair freezers and refrigerators. It will save money and time.”

Contact Info

The Wallingford Dram


Thanks for Listening!

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Huge thanks to Michael Pazdon for joining me for another awesome episode. Until next time!