JoAnne Jabbour, Papa Joe's

When your family has owned a restaurant for nearly 30 years, you’ve truly “lived and learned.” Take it from JoAnne Jabbour who, with siblings Barbara and John, has grown the Charlottetown (P.E.I.) business founded by their father, Joe, after his sudden passing in 1991. One smart move: hiring Executive Chef Irwin MacKinnon as culinary leader 25 years ago.

What makes your operation unique on P.E.I.?

JJ: We’re a family-owned business with a local-centric point of view—and always have been. We know our customers and are committed to providing them with homemade, fresh and healthy menu selections using locally grown products as much as possible. We’re also huge supporters of local producers and gear our
menu to availability.

Tell us a bit about the accolades for Papa Joe’s and Chef Irwin.

JJ: We’ve received several, including three awards in 2015 from Best of Sea. Chef Irwin also earned us the Burger Love 2012 Winner, with “The Goddess.” We’ve been nominated several times for the Taste Our Island Award and took home the top spot in 2011 [PEI ADAPT Council].

Can you list any important changes you’ve undertaken—or will be?

JJ: Our POS has simplified and increased efficiency in our day-to-day operations. We’re also planning to become more active on social media. In February, we started renovating to give the restaurant a fresh look. The idea is to maintain our casual environment to ensure all our present and new customers feel welcome and comfortable.

What does “community involvement” mean to you?

JJ: Team sponsorships, plus donations to local charities and benefits. Chef Irwin is also very committed to coaching and mentoring students and young chefs who want to learn their craft, and he’s actively involved in supporting the local culinary community.

You’ve got more to say about Chef Irwin’s high profile and your team.

JJ: Irwin has been inducted into the Honour Society of the Canadian Culinary Federation, a national body of Chefs established in the 1960s. He is also current President of the PEI Chefs Association. Our staff are motivated, energetic and team oriented! We’ve had the great opportunity of maintaining people long-term who take the same pride in what they do as us Jabbours and Irwin.

Can you add a few last words about Papa Joe’s and your distributor?

JJ: Quality service and food is what we do! They go out of their way to help us maintain that by providing great service and product.