Both Mary-Catherine and Deborah, as owners and operators of UpStairs on the Square, embody the welcoming spirit of warmth and hospitality that is the hallmark of UpStairs on the Square. You will find us mostly at the door and in and out of the dining rooms as we make sure that you are having a wonderful time in our restaurant, just as if you were at a dinner party we were hosting.
We have been friends for 35 years, and love running our restaurant together, as we did UpStairs at the Pudding before we opened UpStairs on the Square.
Mary-Catherine defines her most important role at UpStairs on the Square as greeting and supervising the good time of our guests. She has also loved her role over the years hosting wedding receptions and personal events--and has appeared on numerous panels and in local publications about that subject. We are committed to continuing this nuptial tradition at UpStairs on the Square as we help future generations to marry elegantly in Harvard Square.
Mary-Catherine is active in the Cambridge community--as a member of the boards of the Cambridge Office for Tourism and of the Harvard Square Business Association. In 1997, she received the Convention Bureau's "Spirit of Hospitality" Special Recognition Award. She is a member of Les Dames d'Escoffier, the Women's Culinary Guild and Women Chefs and Restaurateurs. She is on the board of Community Servings, The Harvard Square Business Association and the Greater Boston Convention and Visitors Bureau. In 2002, she was, along with Deborah, presented with the Burt Miller Classic Citizens’ Award, awarded by the Spinazzola Foundation.
In 2007, Mary-Catherine and Deborah each received the Carl Barron Business Person of the Year, presented by the Cambridge Chamber of Commerce at their annual Excellence in Business Awards.
Mary-Catherine lives in Arlington with her husband Reid Fleming, whom she met playing tournament croquet when, as 7-time North American Champion, he taught her how to do a killer stop shot.
Deborah has always had her heart in the restaurant world, ever since she left Cornell on 1970 on the back of a motorcycle, and never looked back. Deborah and Mary-Catherine met at Peasant Stock in the early seventies, where Deborah cooked and was the dishwasher extraordinaire. Her influence is everywhere at UpStairs, from the food to the finances to the care of the premises she designed.
Deborah is well-known as the designer of UpStairs on the Square, has garnered numerous articles and kudos in local and national press for the restaurant’s exuberant and original design. She has also been written up over the years for the interior design of her residences, of UpStairs at the Pudding, and of numerous design projects she has spearheaded for the food world and beyond.
As a chef, Deborah has won numerous awards through the years, including "Best Female Chef" in Boston from TV Food Network in 1996. With Mary-Catherine was awarded the Burt Miller Classic Citizens’ Award presented by the Spinazzola Foundation at their gala in February of 2002.
Deborah enjoys renovating and gardening at her Civil War era home in Somerville.
Susan, a native New Englander, grew up in Marblehead, Massachusetts. Her love of food began at an early age with an appreciation for the freshest seafood from the coastal waters near her home. She fondly remembers the clambakes that brought family and close friends together often during the long seaside summers of her childhood. Susan attended Skidmore College and earned her degree in English, but always had a passion for cooking and especially for cookbooks, which she says she “read like novels.”
She began her culinary endeavors in Boston at Seasons Restaurant in the Bostonian Hotel, the cutting-edge American-cuisine restaurant that spawned many of Boston’s best known chefs. It was there that she gained experience working with the likes of Gordon Hamersley, Jody Adams and Lydia Shire. Lydia’s and Susan’s collaborative efforts continued for the next eighteen years, bringing them to the California coast to open the The Four Seasons hotel in Beverly Hills and then, back again to Boston to open Biba and Pignoli Restaurants.
She has garnered awards and accolades on the local and national level. Most notably, Susan was honored with “America’s Best Chef – Northeast” award by the James Beard Foundation in 1998 and has twice been named “Best Chef in Boston” by the Improper Bostonian. Susan resides in Somerville, Massachusetts. While not in our daily kitchen, Susan continue to participate in the life of the restaurant with participation in offsite catering, special events and the like.
Born in Sao Paulo, Brazil (did you ever notice how authentic your caipirinhas taste?), UpStairs Bar Manager Lino first stepped behind a bar in Manhattan and soon realized he was hooked. Under the tutelage of Flavien Desoblin at the Brandy Library, he was tutored in the art of pre-prohibition cocktails, the traditional craft of mixology, and a style of service that was born in the golden age of cocktails and grand bars.
Lino has worked at UpStairs since September 2005, and learned to blend the traditions and service tips he brought from New York with the user-friendly, slightly less formal style found in Cambridge. His philosophy is to never let fancy bar-speak get in the way of your good time (but should you wonder what the difference between a French 75 and a French 76 is, Lino has made sure that UpStairs’ bartenders can help you out).
Lino, truly a bar chef, is well-known for his hand-crafted libations that use infusions and potions he blends, squeezes and creates every week from the bounty of our kitchen. His original cocktails have been featured in numerous publications, (such as Boston Magazine, The Weekly Dig, Stuff @ Night, The Improper Bostonian and The Boston Globe,) and feature bold flavors that match the distinctive decor and cuisine of UpStairs on the Square.
Maria Santos began working at UpStairs on the Square in June 2009, following her dream of creating beautiful desserts. After a Maine girlhood where she grew up thinking about cooking, she left for the West Coast and pursued an education at the California School of Culinary Arts in Pasadena.
Following an internship with Kristen Murray of No. 9 Park in Boston, she next worked under Aaron Lindgren (formerly of Charlie Trotter’s) and then moved on to a very satisfying period in the pastry department of Lucques, the James Beard Award-winning Los Angeles restaurant owned by Suzanne Goin.
In joining the UpStairs team, she follows the path that Lucques opened to her: “Think Locally, Cook Globally,” as she develops creative desserts for UpStairs’ many menus—wine dinners, vegan dinners, vegetarian tasting menus, etc. She is always looking to develop farmers’ market-driven menus with sustainability (and of course, great taste and more than a hint of dessert decadence).
Event coordinator Caroline Koelker joined the staff of UpStairs on the Square after moving to Cambridge from Maine to complete her Master of Music in Opera Performance Degree from Longy School of Music in 2005. She became an invaluable member of our Soirée Dining Room service staff, and subsequently initiated a series of wildly popular opera and cabaret nights on Monday nights in the Soirée Room, when she and musician friends (some of whom were her colleagues here!) performed dinner concerts. In early 2012, Caroline moved into the position of Private Events Coordinator, where she enjoys helping guests to plan the many private celebrations UpStairs enjoys hosting every day. Caroline continues to schedule performances as part of UpStairs' new chamber music/cabaret dinner series and performs often locally and throughout New England; she also teaches voice and piano in Medford, where she resides with her husband, Josh and son, Noah.
Raised in Brookline, Dina returned home to Boston with a degree in history from Bryn Mawr College and every intention of applying to law school. Two years and many dinner parties later, those plans were abandoned as she headed to San Francisco to attend the California Culinary Academy. She was lured back to the east coast, though, by the offer of an externship in the pastry department of acclaimed New York City restaurant Daniel. After graduation, she returned again to Boston, working first at Sonsie before landing at the beloved UpStairs at the Pudding, where she was promoted to Pastry Chef after taking a short sabbatical to stage at a Michelin-starred restaurant in the Loire Valley of France. When the Pudding closed, she became the Pastry Chef at another favorite Harvard Square institution, Harvest, before returning to help open UpStairs on the Square.
In 2003 Dina switched tracks again and took on the role of Finance Manager at UpStairs. Pleasantly surprised by how much she enjoyed her new job, she in now enrolled in the evening MBA program at the Carroll School of Management at Boston College. If she had any free time, Dina would enjoy overcooking for family & friends, reading just for fun, training for her next triathlon & learning how to smoke the perfect brisket.
Sunil earned a bachelor's degree in Hospitality Management during his student years in France, and has worked in the hospitality industry since 1997. He honed his hospitality skills in many of the finest hotels of the world, including George V in Paris, Park Plaza Hotel and Residences in London and the Grand Hyatt Atlanta. Sunil earned his MBA from the Paris Graduate School of Management, with a major in marketing and subsequently helped launch restaurants in London and in Katmandu. He joined our team as a server in 2011, and was promoted to manager in October of 2012. As a consummate professional, Sunil has added much to our restaurant culture during his time here, and he is particularly interested in selling you some fine wine!
Sandesh is the wonderfully friendly face that greets you often as you come into UpStairs on the Square. But don't let that fool you - Sandesh wears many hats here, as he helps us become an efficient business and markets us to the world. He also insures that customer service is primary in all that we do.
Sandesh moved to the US from Nepal in 2004, and is a graduate of U Mass Boston with a degree in finance in 2010. During his years studying, he worked as a head server here at UpStairs, graduating to a part time management position (Monday Club Bar and off-site catering). When he matriculated, Sandesh took a position in finance at Bain Capital, but after several years, pined for the hospitality industry and UpStairs. We are so fortunate to welcome Sandesh back, as the embodiment of hospitality and customer satisfaction.
Sheila Smith has been a manager for five years at the UpStairs at the Pudding before she joined the team at UpStairs on the Square; her first love is the Monday Club Bar. She is surrogate mom for the Krokodiloes, loves kids, and has a ready smile for Sunday brunchers.
Lovely Marcilia Loubach, known to all as Marci, takes the helm at lunch and got her start as a mere teenager as a host at the Pudding. She now does all the scheduling at UpStairs on the Square in addition to her managing shifts.