We believe Old School Hospitality’s ‘secret sauce’ is its people, beginning with its partners, who each contribute expertise to different aspects of the business. Our restaurants are fortunate to attract the industry's best talent, and we give them the training and professional opportunities to succeed. Respect and support of our employees is evident in everything we do; as a result, we enjoy a degree of staff loyalty and tenure that is rare in this high-turnover business.
James Flanigan, Partner & CEO
James has worked in the restaurant industry since he was an early teenager, shadowing his father, Paul, and helping out with odds and ends around the Quarterdeck and other local bars and restaurants. He has worked from the proverbial ground floor up and has worked – or at least moonlighted – in every position in the front and back of the house. James’ career with Quarterdeck and in the industry continued through high school, college, and even law school.
A Fort Lauderdale native, James graduated from Florida Atlantic University with a degree in Accounting, and from the Florida State University College of Law. During college and law school, he worked in the federal trial court in Philadelphia, the state appellate and trial courts in Tallahassee, and also in different restaurants and bars in and around the Fort Lauderdale and Tallahassee area. James practiced law for almost four years in Fort Lauderdale at the law firm of Tripp Scott. His practice focused mainly on commercial litigation, bankruptcy and insolvency proceedings.
James lives in downtown Fort Lauderdale and plans to plant his roots in the area even further. His love for the bar and restaurant business, along with his eclectic background, eventually led him back to the hospitality industry and to form Old School Hospitality with Paul, Frank, and Joe. He now handles the day-to-day legal and accounting work for Old School Hospitality and its subsidiary restaurants from our corporate office in Fort Lauderdale.
Paul Flanigan, Partner & Chairman of the Board
The patriarch of the Old School family, Paul purchased Quarterdeck from Flanigan’s Enterprises, Inc. in 1986, and he partnered with Flanigan’s for close to a decade, opening and managing a number of Flanigan’s Seafood Bar and Grill franchise and company units. He opened a second Quarterdeck Seafood Bar & Neighborhood Grill on Fort Lauderdale Beach in 1995 and then he soon partnered with Frank Zaffere to open six additional Quarterdecks in Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach Counties from 1997 through 2004. Paul and Frank teamed up to design, create, and open Dive Bar Restaurant in Jupiter, Florida in 2011, Dania Beach Quarterdeck in 2012, Beach Bar @ Newport Pier in 2014, and Good Spirits, which is set to open in early 2017.
Born in Texas, Paul has been in Florida for most of his life. He attended the University of Florida and then went on to graduate from the University of Notre Dame with a B.B.A. in Accounting, and later graduated from the University of Miami School of law. Prior to entering the restaurant business, Paul also worked as a staff accountant with Price Waterhouse in Tampa and later worked as an attorney with Morgan, Lewis, and Bockius in Miami. Paul is also an experienced pilot and is married with five children.
Frank Zaffere, Partner & COO
Frank is a long-time business partner and friend of his fellow Notre Dame alumni, Paul Flanigan. His introduction to the restaurant industry began in 1992 when, within five days of his arrival in South Florida, he was employed as a busboy at the first Quarterdeck. Less than 10 years later, he was named Director of Operations. Under his direction, the Quarterdeck doubled units and sales, and established partnership relationships with three major sports franchises in South Florida: the Miami Dolphins, Florida Panthers and Florida Marlins. Frank was the impetus behind the adoption of sushi into our operations, first as a limited menu item, and then based upon his creation and development of Dive Bar, as a major revenue center. Frank’s restaurant experience includes serving as managing partner of all the Quarterdeck locations, president of Dive Bar, president of Beach Bar @Newport Pier, Lobby Bar LLC, Good Spirits LLC, and Jedi Enterprises LLC.
Frank is also a local radio personality with ESPN 106.3, where he hosts a weekly show concentrating on Mixed Martial Arts.
Our Executive Chefs
Chang Jin aka Sushi Mike
Chang Jin, aka, Sushi Mike, joined Quarterdeck in 2010 as a Corporate Executive Chef. Since joining the team, Mike has opened and managed all aspects of the sushi preparation and presentation at Dive Bar, Beach Bar, and the Quarterdeck restaurants.
Sushi Mike was born in Seoul, South Korea, and came to the United States in 1985. He first lived in New York where he began working in sushi restaurants located in Queens and Manhattan. During his tenure in New York, Sushi Mike gained eight years of experience cooking high-end Korean and Japanese cuisine, as well as honing his sushi skills. Mike specializes in the "haro" technique -- filleting fish at the table and serving it fresh to customers.
Sushi Mike moved to South Florida in 1993 to be the creative force behind a family-owned sushi restaurant. The following year, he opened his own restaurant in West Palm Beach and ran it for three years. He has also served as the Head Sushi Chef at Carmine's Ocean Grill from 1997-2010. Mike is happily married to his wife of 20 years and has one daughter.
Jonathan Jimenez, Executive Chef
Jonathan was born in Bogota, Colombia and moved at the age of 16 to Miami. Since he was a kid, he always found himself in the kitchen hungry and curious about how food was prepared. His first job in 1999 was at his aunt’s restaurant – a very busy Mexican restaurant in South Beach “El Rancho Grande”. While attending school, he worked there as a dishwasher and that is where his love and passion for Mexican cuisine began. Then Jonathan decided to move to Myrtle Beach SC, where he worked in fine dining at Marriott Resort & Spa at Grand Dunes and at Michaels on 79. From there, he moved back to Miami and took a job at Barton G Restaurant in South Beach where he started as a line cook and then got promoted to Sous Chef and then to Executive Sous Chef. After four years, he took an offer as a Executive Sous Chef to work for a well-known area restaurant, “Nikki Beach.”
Jonathan has had the opportunity to travel and open two restaurants, one in Dominican Republic and one in Las Vegas. He has traveled the world, exploring food in the US, Thailand and Mexico. He got the opportunity to open a new Mexican Restaurant call “Lolos Surf Cantina” in South Beach, and then in 2018 he joined Old School Hospitality’s Good Spirits restaurant as a Chef de Cuisine, and in 2019, he was promoted to Executive Chef.
Our Management Team
Sophie Snyder, Director, Whiskey Neat
Sophie began her hospitality career in South Florida, but ‘cut her teeth’ in the Big Apple, New York City for 15 years where she developed a passion for spirits, food and wine. She was recruited back to South Florida to serve as Corporate Beverage Director for Old School Hospitality Group where she directs operations and manages strategic collaborative partnerships. She has been a design consultant for the Hula Kai Tiki Bar and Restaurant concept.
Sophie is also responsible for continued development of the Whiskey Neat Cocktail Lounge concept at both the Fort Lauderdale and the Plantation locations.
Alyssa Tibbetts, Operations Manager, Quarterdeck Restaurants
Alyssa is veteran of the Florida hospitality industry. Alyssa began as a hostess at the Davie Quarterdeck in 2006. Over the next several years, she proceeded to progress through various positions and levels of responsibility, ultimately becoming the General Manager in 2016. In 2017, Alyssa became General Manager of the original Quarterdeck, Project Manager for the new Quarterdeck along with an entirely new concept, Whiskey Neat Cocktail Lounge both of which opened in Fort Lauderdale in 2019.
In 2021, Alyssa was assigned additional responsibilities including serving as a design consultant for the new Hula Kai Restaurant and Bar concept. Early in 2022, Alyssa became Old School Hospitality Operations Manager.