Meet Our Team
Sunnyside Restaurant Group is owned by the Mendelsohn family, operating and franchising six successful restaurant concepts nationally and internationally.
Chief Operating Officer
Catherine Mendelsohn, daughter of renowned Montreal restaurateur Sunny Nakis, has experience spanning 35 years in the food service industry. Her knowledge encompasses a wide scope of concepts: from retails to fine dining and World Exposition Fairs. Catherine served as a restaurant consultant for major worldwide events, giving her an in-depth understanding of restaurant operations from top to bottom.
Chief Executive Officer
Harvey Mendelsohn is the financial wizard behind the Sunnyside Restaurant Group. With 40 years of corporate financial management under his belt, Harvey knows how to open, operate and maintain profitable and successful restaurants. His backgrounds in wealth management and global tax provides him with a comprehensive understanding of business and finance- a true asset to the brand.
Micheline Mendelsohn Luhn
Deputy Chief Executive Officer
Micheline Mendelsohn Luhn brings her unparalleled marketing and communications expertise to the Sunny Side Restaurant Group in addition to years as Deputy CEO overseeing 6 restaurant brands. Her education in journalism and Master’s degree in International Relations from The University of Chicago prepared her to launch Good Stuff Eatery into the limelight with her public relations and social media plans. She continued that success with the opening of We, The Pizza, Santa Rosa Taqueria, The Butcher's Sandwich and Big Top Ice Cream Bar, all fast casual brands. Micheline works on every restaurant from inception to opening day and handles franchisee relations, brand strategy and marketing. Micheline plays a major role in the expansion of these brands across the globe. She serves on the Board of Directors for DC Central Kitchen, an organization that works to eradicate hunger; is a member of Les Dames D'Escoffier, a society of professional women in the hospitality industry; and Defeat DIPG, a pediatric cancer charity that her dear friends, the Mosier Family, started.
Spike Mendelsohn graduated with honors from the Culinary Institute of America. As a celebrity chef, Spike has appeared on international media outlets, including Bravo TV’s Top Chef, the Food Network’s Iron Chef America and The Rachael Ray Show, bringing continual media attention to the Good Stuff Eatery brand. Currently, Spike serves as the Chairman of the D.C. Food Policy Council, Chef Ambassador to CARE International and Chef Contributor to DC Central Kitchen.
Director of Operations
John Renninger retired from eight years in the White House Presidential Food Service and brings 20 years of culinary experience to the position. As Director of Operations, Renninger oversees the Sunnyside Restaurant Group’s three restaurants on Capitol Hill and aids with the brands' s domestic and international expansion.
Karina Wilkey combines her vast experience in hotel, restaurants, and retail industries to bring in depth knowledge of financial systems and controls to the group. As controller of the IK Retail Group, she strengthened the infrastructure of the company, assisting in the expansion from 28 retail stores to over 75 stores in three years. Karina assures timely and accurate financial statements and analysis reports that assist the management team in their decision making process.
Ted McCoig joins Sunnyside Restaurant Group with over 20 years of branding and marketing experience. In 2007, He cofounded Ivey McCoig Creative Partners, an agency specializing in branding and identity work.
He worked directly with the Mendelsohn family helping them launch the Good Stuff Eatery brand and several brand extensions of the Sunnyside Restaurant Group. With an uncanny ability to marry both sides of the brain, Ted’s designs are not only easy on the eyes, but are based on proven best practices.
Director of Business Development
Yaser Joudeh, a graduate of Management Information System, has a decade of management in the food and beverage Industry. His education, experience and hunger for knowledge to turn information into actions has contributed to helping expand Quiznos Master Franchisee oversees from 12 to 36 stores, within 4 years.
Joudeh is joining Sunnyside Restaurant Group to utilize his local and international experience for growth. Fueled with passion and determination, he oversees all aspects of the company and identifies potential expansion opportunities.
Director of Everything Pizza
Rob Earley is a true pizza aficionado. He started in Lansing, MI as a teenager working at Hungry Howie's where he developed a passion for making pies. Earley soon became District Manager of Cottage & Pizza. Over the years, he opened several Pizza Al Fornos and Pizza Gourmets around Michigan as their Director of Operations.
Upon moving to Washington, D.C., Earley began working with District of PI before landing the coveted title of Director of Everything Pizza at We, The Pizza on Capitol Hill. Rob is the best man in the pizza business for quality ingredients and customer service. His focus includes the expansion of We, The Pizza across the country.
Paula Canale Olinto
Paula's always had a passion for the world of food and hospitality, stemming from her multi-cultural family and Brazilian roots. After several years working in the industry from fine-dining restaurant management to hospitality technology, Paula decided to further her education by completing a Master’s degree in Global Hospitality Management at Georgetown University in Washington D.C. Paula provides administrative assistance to the CEO, Deputy CEO, COO and numerous other directors. She serves as the primary contact for external offices, leads the critical path charts for franchisees and general contractors, assists on brand development and marketing opportunities. Paula manages our social media staff and provides technical and logistical support for multiple projects, meetings, openings and philanthropy events in the U.S. and around the world. Paula is phenomenal.
Joe Shymanski is a Washington DC based fine art, portrait and event photographer. He is a native of Michigan, and an alumni of the University Of Michigan, where he earned a degree in History and Psychology and a certification to teach in the public schools. Joe worked as a secondary school social studies teacher in Detroit, Korea, Honduras, the District of Columbia and Virginia before opening a small photography studio on Capitol Hill in 2000. Joe has taken images of all of the presidents since the Clinton administration at a variety of fundraisers and campaign events. Hillary Clinton, John Kerry, John McCain, the Dalai Lama, Chef Jose Andres, Chef Spike Mendelsohn, Christopher Reeves, Michael J. Fox, Billy Joel, Ambassadors to and from the United States, military leaders, Cabinet members, a multitude of U.S. Senators and House Representatives and many DC professionals and residents are among Joe's subjects. Joe joined The Sunnyside Restaurant Group in 2007 and took the first shots of Chef Spike pre Top Chef. Joe continues to work with the Mendelsohn family and all their concepts, family events, fundraisers and weddings.