Endicott Alumni Find the Right Ingredients for Success

Entrepreneurs in the restaurant industry bring their business skills home to Beverly, Mass.

Chive co-owner and Endicott alumna Jennifer Freedson Photo by Kindra Clineff
Est. Read Time

The broad, skills-focused base of an Endicott education leads our graduates in a variety of inspiring directions. A large number have followed their passion for cuisine and service to open restaurants and food-based businesses all over the country. Meet two mouth-­watering endeavors operating right here in Beverly.

Chive hosts an event where people are drinking wineChive is a full-service catering and event design
company in Beverly, Mass. 

Chive is a full-service catering and event design company located in the heart of downtown Beverly on Rantoul Street. As a business, the company values a sustainable approach to creating a holistic event experience. “In terms of the aesthetic or the vibe, we lean on our client’s intention for the event,” says Chive co-founder Jennifer Freedson, who received her Bachelor of Science in Interior Design from Endicott. “When we are given the opportunity, we can really bring in every aspect of an event to tell a story.” For Freedson, the ability to tell a story through an experience began at Endicott.

Initially, Freedson’s career plans were to be an architect. “I was starting out in interior design and kind of wanted to work my way into the architectural field,” she remembers. Along the way, she worked in hospitality to pay for school and volunteered around the North Shore. “I wanted to fulfill my desire to be connected to nature and sustainability and learning more about food and local food culture. I felt a love for all three industries but didn’t feel fulfilled in just one. I didn’t see one as the path, which was a little disheartening.”

Then she met her Chive business “partner in crime” Lindsey Wishart at Endicott.

“We were waiting for our very first art classes to start,” she remembers. “We were sitting on the front steps and just connected.” Over the years, the pair found themselves in conversations about wanting to create a local experience with fare that was pleasing to all the senses. Two years after Freedson graduated, she resumed talks with Wishart, and Chive was born.

"In terms of the aesthetic or the vibe, we lean on our client’s intention for the event"
—Jennifer Freedson '06, Chive co-founder

“When I saw there was a way to align all of those loves into this one business that we were able to create, it felt very enlightening and very exciting; very much like it was unlocking this path to using all the skills I learned at Endicott and also applying other skills that I learned all at once,” says Freedson. “Our whole vibe is approachable, comfortable, warm, inviting, and intentional.”

Now as a business owner, Freedson has been able to mentor and support internships for Endicott students looking to pursue a similar path.

“We’ve been able to come do talks in different classes and give inspiration for design and interior design and hospitality groups,” she says. “One of the things that really attracted me to Endicott was the internship program. I felt like it was really going to give me a chance to really try the field, connect with people and get experience working.”

Her advice to students still figuring out their path: “I constantly tell them, whatever you are studying I am sure is going to apply to what you end up doing. You just have to put yourself out there and give yourself lots of chances to take opportunities, even if they seem disconnected, because likely they will come together.” She adds, “I definitely got that out of Endicott.”

Tartine owner and Endicott alumna Monika SimonEndicott alumna Monika Simon runs Tartine, a
European-style cafe in the heart of Beverly, Mass.

On another bustling street in downtown Beverly is Tartine Kitchen & Eatery, founded by Endicott alumna Monika Simon and her husband Alexandre. Located on Cabot Street, the restaurant is a seamless showcase of French fare and European café culture that feels like a homecoming for Simon in more ways than one.

“Tartine is really the kind of eatery and café style that they have in Europe,” says Simon, a native of Brussels, Belgium, where she met Alexandre. “We wanted to offer that sense of home and familiarity. When you go to Belgium and go to an eatery or a café, you would feel the same type of service. We serve our coffee on a platter with a little cookie, a beer with cheese, and the service is exceptional. It’s all these little things we’ve really instilled in Tartine that sets us apart and makes us European.”

Simon graduated from Endicott in 1994 with a Bachelor of Science in Retailing with a focus in apparel design and merchandising. After a 15-year career working for some of the world’s most popular fashion brands, Simon met Alexandre and her career took a shift from couture to cuisine.

"I think that Endicott helped me hone not only certain skills in communication and business planning, but it gave me a strong foundation."
—Monika Simon '94, Tartine Kitchen & Eatery founder

“I loved what I did, I just needed a change,” says Simon. “Alexandre was born in a restaurant family. He’s managed family businesses for over 25 years. I was new to it, but it worked. I’m the creative mind, and he is the analytical mind.”

An outside look at TartineTartine Kitchen & Eatery is located at
192 Cabot Street in Beverly, Mass.

The venture was an opportunity for the couple to bring a slice of their native culture to Beverly, where Simon had called home during her time at Endicott.

“Endicott brought me back to Beverly because it’s a sense of familiarity,” says Simon. “The area is beautiful… Even though Endicott is a very different school today than it was when I started fall of freshman year in 1989, I think my degree and the studies I did creatively and the years working corporately in apparel, it certainly honed my design skills. I also think that Endicott helped me hone not only certain skills in communication and business planning, but it gave me a strong foundation.”

Simon and Alexandre describe themselves as “very hands-on” owners. They hope to continue to build Tartine’s place in the community with a sense of creativity, energy, and style that they also instill in their employees, who are often Endicott students.

“I would certainly say the toughest thing for this business is time constraint. There is never enough time. As a restaurant owner, you really need to be dedicated. You need to have high energy and be creative, have strong leadership and be organized, with a willingness to learn and teach—all while keeping your cool,” which can seem impossible sometimes, says Simon. “I also remember from the experience I had at Endicott, which was a phenomenal one, the caliber of professors and the dedication of them. They really helped me believe that if you think big, you can make it big. That nothing is impossible.”