Margaret Pearman has spent the last 10 years as the face of her father’s restau-rant, Charlie’s L’Etoile Verte. Starting out clearing tables at age 10, she has a unique perspective on both taking charge of the family business and being a woman in a leadership role at an island institution.
Q: What challenges did you face as a woman taking over the reins of a suc-cessful restaurant?
A: Many customers don’t take me seri-ously, and even ask to speak to the “real” manager. Often customers are surprised when I approach the table to help them pick out a wine. I also get asked “when did you start?” I just say to myself, “ Clearly you don’t look 37, Margaret!”
Q: Were there any mentors you looked to as you started out?
A: My college experience in New Orleans probably impacted me the most. During my time there, I worked at Commander’s Palace where the Brennan women ran the show. Lally and Tee would sweep in and out each evening but had a very specific agenda while they were working the floor: to make themselves seen, greet any VIPs, and relay any discontents to the management. I learned quickly if your smile was not plastered on your face, you wouldn’t have a job the next day.
Also, I cannot discount my time spent at Rollers Wine and Spirits working under Camille Copeland. She’s a woman who knows wants she wants and is deter-mined to get it. I have always been envious of her fortitude.
Lastly, I have had the opportunity to work with many people who have been in the restaurant business a lot longer than me. My ears are always open to their input. I think they appreciate that. I am indebted to my staff for their strength and perseverance. Although I have lots of flexibility now to raise my small kids, it has taken a long time to get to this point.
8 New Orleans Rd., Hilton Head Island, SC | 843.785.9277 | www.charliesgreenstar.com