When he first started working at Fiddlehead last July, Nick Marsh knew that he was in a good place.
“My first day working there, Aaron [O’Reilly, owner and chef at Fiddlehead] had me help him get a catering order ready. I loved watching him talk to every employee. He asked everyone about their personal lives, what they like,” Marsh said. “I knew right then and there that I was working for a boss who cared.”
Marsh was between jobs when he started working at Fiddlehead. He had worked in the restaurant industry before and had connected with O’Reilly at a community event. When he started serving at Fiddlehead, Marsh had no idea what an immediate impact it would have on his life.
“I felt that there was this good sense of community there, and I really wanted to be a part of that,” he said.
When a managerial position opened up in November, Marsh decided to apply.
“Aaron liked what he saw of my work ethic, and I got the role. I was very happy to take that. I don’t have a college education right now so I figured it would be a good experience for me in the meantime, and I felt that it was a good thing to help with, a good thing to jump in with instead of holding back,” he said.
Since his promotion, Marsh has learned, grown, and been challenged in positive ways.
“It definitely is a learning curve, there’s a lot you don’t realize is happening all at once when you’re working your one position,” he said. “Since I’d worked at restaurants before, I knew a lot about back of house and front of house, separately, and it was just a matter of putting it all together. Aaron has been really great at growing me in this new position these last six months. It wasn’t automatic, but it happened!”
Marsh said being helpful to his fellow employees and patrons during Fiddlehead’s busiest hours is something he finds rewarding.
“I really like being in a position where people can come to me and I can help them through their issues, whether it’s an employee or a customer,” he said. “My creative passion with this is being able to help people through things. And with the restaurant, there are some [challenges] we have to get through each day. Like getting us through the daily rush. Because once it gets going, there’s no stopping it!”
Marsh attributed O’Reilly’s leadership and that initial sense of community at Fiddlehead as reasons he pursued a managerial role—and reasons he’s happy he did.
“I’m talking to more people, since I’m at manager level now, and I get to interact with small business owners and people who frequent the restaurant. It’s really expanded the network for me. I love how close it is here with the local ties—I really dig it,” he said.
Especially now, O’Reilly’s leadership is paramount to Marsh, his fellow employees, and the surrounding community.
“I love how concerned he is for the wellbeing of all the citizens in the community, and even in the county. I’ve seen him form a community even in the restaurant, which really drew me. We’re a family there, and he took the time to cultivate those bonds,” Marsh said. “For the community, he establishes giveback nights, and is always looking for ways to help people in need.”
“Even now in these crazy times,” Marsh said, “he’s always checking in on us, helping out with us as needed, even if it’s not work-related. It’s the type of leadership mentality that I try to pattern for myself”
At the time of our conversation, Marsh and his Fiddlehead family had just closed the doors to their restaurant to wait for the dust surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic to settle. Fiddlehead has since resumed operations for carryout and delivery orders. The entire pandemic situation has caused restaurants around the nation to adjust their responses accordingly and has tested the strength of even the most successful businesses. Luckily for Marsh and everyone at Fiddlehead, that bond O’Reilly instilled conquered that test.
“We have used this as an opportunity to have conversations with our employees, more conversations than we ever had before. We feel far more connected right now, checking in on each other and making sure we’re all doing O.K., running each other supplies and things,” Marsh said. “One of our servers, Sarah Zawacki, started a GoFundMe page to let people donate to those in the serving community in need.”
“In the restaurant industry, there’s just a lot of uncertainty right now,” he continued. “It’s definitely scary, but it definitely brought us all closer and connected us more than ever before.”
In times like these, Marsh often turns to making music to help him process what he’s going through.
“I have a huge passion for music, and an interest in the local scene especially. I play acoustic guitar mostly, but I also play keyboard and drums,” he said. “Right now, it’s definitely my way of venting. I write words, I put them to music. It’s kind of like having a journal.”
While music remains a personal passion for Marsh, in times of status quo you can often find him at P.A.R.C. supporting local artists.
In addition to O’Reilly, Marsh looks up to several other leaders in his life: his family members.
“I love my family, they mean everything to me,” he said. “My mom and dad have been the biggest inspirations in my life, and I have loved watching my younger siblings grow up.”
Marsh, 24, has two brothers, 22 and 10, and a sister, 14.
“Watching them grow and mature, and each of us learning from each other’s mistakes and triumphs, it’s caused a little introspection for me, and this real circle of life feeling,” he said.
Marsh credits his close loved ones as a constant driving force.
“They are my foundation, my family and my beautiful girlfriend Kayla,” he said. “They are what motivates me.”