M E E T O U R E X E C U T I V E T E A M
L A R K I N L A W S O N H A M M O N D
CHIEF CREATIVE OFFICER
“I am inspired everyday with what I see in the world. The opportunity to learn from others is priceless and my imagination, endless”
Larkin Lawson Hammond is founder and Chief Creative Officer of the Larkin's Brand including Larkin's on the River, Larkin's on the Lake, Larkin's Carolina Grill, Bayfront Bar and Grill, Larkin’s Catering & Events and Grill Marks. She designs, consults and creates a restaurant atmosphere that exudes warm southern charm with unique style and flair.
Born and raised in the south, Larkin worked in her Grandmother’s roadside restaurant, giving her a taste for good food at an early age. She always knew she wanted to work for herself and create exciting ways to earn a living. After college, her first career was building and racing off-shore powerboats. Larkin then moved on to buying neglected homes to remodel and sell. Expanding her horizons, she moved to California and took on a career in real estate. Going all in, as Larkin does, she became the president of the Board of Realtors of South Orange County and one of the top producers in the area.
In 1998 she moved to NC and bought her first restaurant. She took a shabby old bar and turned it into a great place to sit on the lake and enjoy a great burger and margarita. Needing that occasional “big city fix,” she traveled to Greenville, SC and walked into an old, smoky steakhouse. Larkin fell in love with the bones of the place. It was not for sale, but after two years of persuasive discussions, she convinced the owner to retire. That was 2005 and now Larkin’s on the River has the enviable reputation as the best restaurant in Greenville.
In the back of her mind, Larkin still held on to the dream she carried from those days working in her grandmother’s restaurant— to open a hamburger stand. Larkin came up with the concept and design of a sophisticated burger joint that serves the best burgers. Grill Marks, in the heart of Greenville, SC was born. Since then, Grill Marks has expanded, opening a second location in Columbia (2015) and a third location in the Haywood Mall of Greenville (2017).
Larkin is the first one to give back to those in need. She started Rhythm on the River, a weekly concert series, which contributed over $700,000 to local Greenville charities. She makes sure that each local charity is on her radar and she drives a “give-back” culture in the company and her staff forwards this in many ways. “ What is money if you can’t give it away?” says Larkin. “That’s how it brings you happiness.”
Larkin is constantly designing and creating new ideas to make the business grow and keep her team around for the long run.
M A R K H A M M O N D
PRESIDENT / CEO
“That was yesterday - now how are we going to make it better today?”
Mark Hammond is the CEO and CFO of Larkin’s Restaurants, including Larkin’s on the Lake, Larkin’s on the River, Larkin’s Carolina Grill, The Bayfront Bar & Grill, Larkin’s Catering & Events and Grill Marks.
Growing up in California, Mark developed his penchant for enjoying food, wine and time with friends during family trips to Napa Valley. While obtaining his commercial pilot’s license and aeronautical engineering degree, he took a part time job frying taco shells at a local Taco Bell. Little did he know, that first job would lead to a life-long career in the restaurant business. He soon traded his enjoyment of flying for his passion for food, wine and the opportunity to work for the largest Taco Bell franchisee. Through several mergers and acquisitions, Mark propelled his career through a variety of positions including multi-unit management and corporate training and development during his 20 years in what were the restaurant divisions of Pepsi-Co, now Yum Brands.
In late 1998, Mark decided to go on his own and leverage his vast restaurant expertise by opening his first restaurant in North Carolina. Purchasing an existing operation, he re-branded the business with new décor, new menu and a new name. The revenue doubled in its second year of operation and continued an upward trend ever since. Mark has retained the current management for over 12 years, delivering annual bottom line growth with increasing guest satisfaction.
Water skiing to work was fun, but after several years of having a great management team in place, it was time to move on to another challenge. Mark soon opened another restaurant and catering company in South Carolina. Again, he put together a great management team and grew the award-winning business to new heights. Having a deeply engrained, multi-concept nature, he decided to branch out further and developed a new concept: Grill Marks— a sophisticated burger joint in Greenville and Columbia SC.
Mark has become the foundation of the company and has created a culture that leverages an entrepreneurial spirit to the benefit of the guest, the team members and the bottom line. He is always there whenever and wherever he is needed and his philanthropic efforts help others everyday. Whether through chartable organizations, or helping team members in his own company, Mark’s greatest enjoyment is helping others succeed beyond their own limits.
K R I S T I N A M U R P H Y
EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT, RESTAURANTS & CATERING
"It's more than a menu, a place setting and décor— It's an opportunity to create an experience that will leave a lasting impression."
Kristina and her family transplanted from Louisiana to Greenville in the wake of Hurricane Katrina in 2007. Despite the unfortunate circumstances, Kristina remained motivated and joined the Larkin's team to continue doing what she does best— create incredible events.
Kristina has an extensive background in culinary arts and event management. She started developing her tenure and honing her skills working in casual restaurants, but really hit it big as a culinary expert at the West Point Academy in New York. She later relocated to Louisiana where she became an event coordinator for a privately owned event venue while also taking care of her son and love of her life, Connor.
Kristina designs events that no one else can. She has an exceptional ability to listen to clients and make their dreams become a reality. There is no question that an event planned by Kristina will be unique, special and exceed expectations.
Kristina has catered events with Larkin's for BMW, SC Charities, Bi-Lo, Michelin, SYNNEX, ScanSource and more. An event designed by Kristina will be unforgettable!
CHEF ADAM HAYES
EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT, RESTAURANTS & CULINARY
"I love what I do and bring an unrivaled energy with me everywhere I go. There's always a way to make it happen."
Chef Adam Hayes joined the Larkin's family in April of 2019 and has already been instrumental in adding depth to Larkin's culinary profile. His passion for creating amazing dishes and devotion to developing the culinary team are just a few characteristics that make him a valuable member of our leadership team.
Prior to joining Larkin's, Chef Hayes developed and honed an impressive resume including winning the Food Network's "Cutthroat Kitchen" and hosting two dinners for the James Beard Foundation. Additionally, he worked in several notable restaurants between North Carolina and Georgia including Red Stag Grill at the Grand Bohemian in Biltmore Village, Canyon Kitchen in Cashiers, N.C. and Barnsley Resort in Georgia.
VICE PRESIDENT, RESTAURANT OPERATIONS
Bruce Wise, General Manager of Larkin's on the River and Sommelier for Larkin's Restaurants, joined the Larkin's Team in 2009.
Bruce moved to Greenville after conducting a web search for "great places to raise a family." In the restaurant business all of his life, Bruce has been instrumental in creating a culture of service in the hospitality industry in Greenville.
Born and raised in the Pacific Northwest, Bruce has a natural and true appreciation for wine. Bruce attended college in Oregon's Wine Country, experiencing Oregon's coveted Pinot Noir, as well as earning a wealth of knowledge of wine and viticulture.
Bruce has earned Wine Spectator Wine List awards for Larkin's on the River, Larkin's on the Lake and Grill Marks.