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Simone Marean

a photo of simone marean

“The people, the pasta and the gruyere salad.” are what alum Simone Marean loves most about Union Square Cafe. Simone Marean is Co-CEO and Co-Founder of Girls Leadership, an incredible nonprofit that teaches girls to exercise the power of their voice through impactful programs that engage with them, their families, and their educators. But before it all started, she spent five years with us as a back waiter from ‘99-’04. Here is what she had to say about her time with us: 

Favorite USC Memory? “After the dinner rush was done, Steven Blevens and I would sometimes try to sort the steaming hot silverware with our eyes closed. It made us laugh so hard every time, and release all the tension of the rush. Try it, if you have a dishwasher, grab a good friend and close your eyes and try to sort the silverware without opening them. And the memory that will stay with me for the rest of my life is working together through 9.11. We served first responders on terraces, and on cruise ships in the middle of the night. Every night I would leave work and see all the photos of the missing posted in the square. We all just worked, and wept, and fed people.

Most important thing you learned while working at USC? “First I learned the three plate carry, then I learned to not over froth the milk in a cappuccino (still got it), and most importantly I learned that the team comes first. I remember reading in the handbook that if we take good care of each other, then we can take care of the guests, but I didn't think that was going to be real. Since I never hung out after work, never went to Ceder, and I had my guard up, I expected others to reflect those barriers back to me, but they didn't. I felt so loved at Union Square Cafe, so I had no choice but to love back.”