Horses and the restaurant business. The two don’t usually mix, but for Meghan Johnson, an employee and the Social Media Director of Patrick’s Grille, it is a combination that she loves.
Johnson is the daughter of Patrick Wilkins, owner of Patrick’s Grille. She began working at the new Michigan City located restaurant last year as a hostess, but the more she immersed herself in the fun atmosphere of the restaurant, the more involved she became with the ins and outs of the business world.
The hostess position started only to earn a few extra dollars a week, she admitted.
“I actually just started working there last year because I needed a couple of extra bucks for horses,” she said. “I ended up loving working there, so I got more involved and started serving and now I’m pretty involved in it.”
Along with the additional duties of server, Meghan has taken control of all digital media for the restaurant, and is now a vital member within the Patrick’s Grille team.
Her other family involves the large-bodied animals she takes care of several days a week. Johnson works at the Leap of Faith Farm in St. Joseph, Michigan during the day, cleaning up stalls and helping to care for the 10 horses kept there. One of those is her recently acquired friend named Forest.
“I owned two horses growing up and I started riding when I was nine,” she said. “My dad was nice enough to go along with me when I was little. I think he was hoping it was a phase and it turned out not to be!”
At the stables, Johnson is in her element while combing manes, feeding the animals, and riding her own mare.
Johnson said she is having as much fun as her father as they turn the restaurant into a classic La Porte County eatery.
“The restaurant, you get in and join in with the servers and the kitchen staff, it is so much fun,” she said. “Everyone is so welcoming and so friendly. The whole atmosphere is great and Julie (Gill) is great to work with.”
Johnson is taking classes within the Purdue University Northwest’s hospitality program to further assist her dad and the restaurant.
Johnson’s third family, the most important in her world, includes her husband and two little girls. She and her husband met when they were 16-years-old, both enrolled at La Porte High School. They have a 4-year-old named Emma and a 1-year-old named Melanie.
“Melanie is much less scared of the horses than the older one actually,” Johnson said. “Emma is more into ballet. We go to the park a lot and on Sundays, we have girl dates and go to the movies or bowling.”
Johnson has two sisters, one who lives in Indianapolis and one who lives in Chesterton. All of her of family, she said, lives in Indiana, which is why she loves the Northwest Indiana area so much.
“My dad and I are very close and we are all very family oriented,” she said. “When he (Patrick) works on projects, it is something I like to be a part of.”
Johnson said the fact that it is her father’s restaurant has made the entire experience for the better.
“Seeing this community that he’s making, just in his own restaurant, is really fun for me as his daughter and fun to see,” she said. “You know you want to somewhere when you have fun there and enjoy the people you’re working with.”
Michigan City, IN 46360
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