Xan McLaughlin
Operating Partner, The Park Cafe
Co-Founder, Bread & Butter

A native of Virginia Beach, VA, Xan attended James Madison University, while he worked his way through school with multiple restaurant jobs and encouragement from his parents, who are both veterans of the hospitality industry.

Upon graduation from James Madison University in 2004, Xan accepted a corporate job but quickly decided it was not for him, so he set off for the bright lights of Las Vegas. He spent several years of long nights learning the intricacies of the fast-paced, luxury bar business, first at Casino Monte Lago as a bartender and bar manager. He then moved on to Reflection Bay Resort where he managed the bar for celebrity fundraisers, concerts, and the resort’s private yacht.

On his journey back east in 2007, he took a detour through Charleston, SC, quickly fell in love with the coastal city, and decided to make it his new home. He first helped open Chai’s Lounge on Upper King Street, then accepted a manager position of its sister restaurant, Basil, until 2011. He also worked as bartender at popular Charleston restaurants, Social, Fig, and the Ordinary.

In 2013, Xan heard about a project that veteran Charleston restaurateur Karalee Fallert was developing on the Upper Peninsula. Realizing he was ready to take a leap of faith, he joined forces with her as operating partner of the new venture that they eventually named the Park Cafe, an homage to nearby Hampton Park. They opened the doors in February 2014 and have since established the neighborhood cafe as one of the most beloved restaurants in town. On its five-year anniversary in 2019, the business partners decided it needed a makeover and spent two months completely renovating the dining room, bathrooms, bar, and kitchen.

In addition to overseeing the daily operations of the Park Cafe, Xan has assisted with the development of beverage programs for Karalee’s other restaurants, Wiki Wiki Sandbar and Taco Boy. He also launched Bread & Butter in late 2018, a charitable organization that offers a culinary arts program for inner city schools in Charleston with the ultimate goal of placing them in jobs at local restaurants when they are finished.