Team Spotlight: Rami Khatatba, Director of Operations

About a year ago, Rami Khatatba joined The Upper Crust to lead the team in Brookline’s Coolidge Corner. His strong leadership skills, commitment to taking care of our people and knowledge of the restaurant industry made him a natural fit to oversee operations in all of Greater Boston. With an amazing work ethic and a passion for great food, Rami has become one of the most respected restaurateurs in New England.

A native of Jordan, Rami moved to the USA in 1986 to pursue medical school at the Ohio State University. He quickly realized medicine wasn’t his future, but wasn’t sure what else to do. Fortunately for The Upper Crust, he chose to move to Boston to be closer to family and enrolled in school to study engineering. That’s when he got his first restaurant job – as a dishwasher in a restaurant in Boston’s Back Bay.

“Day one, I decided that I would be the best dishwasher they ever had,” Rami says. “I saw people in the prep kitchen and thought if I worked hard enough, maybe I would be given a chance to try that, too.” One evening a coworker called out for his shift and Rami was given that chance. From there, he became a line cook and quickly worked his way to kitchen manager—all within six months of joining the restaurant.

“I constantly learned from the people around me and had a lot of great mentors,” Rami says. “While I wanted to finish my degree I also knew I had a future in the restaurant industry.”

In 1992, Rami had the chance to own his own restaurant. For the next eight years, he owned and operated the Bus Stop Café in Revere, MA. “I started from the ground up,” he says. “People believed in me and that’s what made it work.”

After completing his engineering degree from UMass Lowell, he thought he would shut the door to his restaurant life. He sold the Bus Stop Café, and took some time off to explore and travel. But before long, Rami found himself itching to get back to the business he grew to love.

“I thought I would finally try something else, but my heart was in the restaurant business,” he says. “I needed to be in a restaurant. The energy of being in a busy kitchen, surrounded by people who want to serve up something spectacular – that’s where I belong.”

Papa Gino’s, Bruegger’s Bagels, Au Bon Pain and Cosi were all steps toward Rami becoming the operations leader at The Upper Crust.

Here at The Upper Crust, Rami serves as the Director of Operations for all of Greater Boston, leading the management teams at seven different locations. “I work for our people,” he says. “I love the opportunities to grow and the mission of this company. It’s truly something special.”

Upper Crust CEO RJ Dourney says the sky is the limit with Rami. “He knows how to lead a team toward success,” RJ says. “His enthusiasm is contagious and I am honored to have him leading our talented team.”

While his duties take him all around Massachusetts, he currently works most frequently in Beacon Hill and Brookline. “Stop in and say hello,” Rami says. “I would love to share a slice a with you.”