To Top

Meet Joe O’Donnell of Urban Plates

Today we’d like to introduce you to Joe O’Donnell.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I joined Urban Plates as the Chief Operating Officer back in July of 2015. The restaurant industry has been my home for more than 32 years, and prior to joining the UP team I spent 18 years in leadership roles with Ruth’s Chris Steak House, including Vice President of Operations for the Western U.S. During my time there, I was extensively involved in all phases of operations including culinary, project management, special leadership training, team development and new restaurant openings in addition to leading their award-winning Beverage program and overseeing a team of Regional Vice Presidents. It has also been my honor to serve as a Board Member of the California Restaurant Association for more than a decade.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
It has been a tremendous learning experience. Although the service model is different than fine dining and full service, at Urban Plates we are all about the same principles and we are advocates for our Guests, passionate about serving high-end restaurant quality food at an affordable price in a comfortable setting with great hospitality.

We are also committed to providing wonderful career opportunities to our Team. I did expect a young company to be more challenged by recruiting top level talent. However, I feel great that we have been able to attract such quality talent to all levels of the organization to help us grow. The main reason is that they have shared a belief in the UP brand and the potential to redefine this dining category.

Please tell us about Urban Plates.
Urban Plates is a contemporary restaurant concept featuring fresh, made-from-scratch meals, entrée salads, hand-carved sandwiches, hot and chilled sides, soups and braises, as well as natural juice Replenishers and decadent desserts. Seasonal menus use thoughtfully sourced ingredients, with no additives or preservatives. Our commitment to quality food at an affordable price provides our guests with grass-fed beef, free-range chicken, line-caught seafood and more.

I’m easily most proud of the culture and environment we foster in each restaurant and within the company as a whole. Our goal is to make sure guests experience a warm, familial atmosphere from the minute they “walk the line” to time they sit down and enjoy their fresh-made meal.

Though on a deeper level, we aim to foster a sense of community amongst anyone who touches the brand – the executives, the chefs, the local farms where we source our ingredients, the team members serving guests – all have a profound impact on the positive nature Urban Plates has become synonymous with.

What quality or characteristic do you feel is most important to your success?
In one word, Passion. Our founders created Urban Plates with a goal to disrupt the status quo. They created a place committed to providing chef-inspired meals from scratch where our guests are in control of how they eat-healthy, indulgent or both.

Our passion to deliver on that promise has never waned and never will.


  • Hand Tossed Salads: $9-$13
  • Plates $12-$14
  • Sides: $4
  • Bowls and Braises: $10
  • Soups: $5.25
  • Sandwiches: $9-$10
  • Desserts: $2.50-$5.75
  • Kid’s Meals: $7.50-$8.50

Contact Info:

Getting in touch: SDVoyager is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

1 Comment

  1. Fred Glick

    July 28, 2018 at 3:52 pm

    Joe – you are a ROCK STAR!!!

Leave a Reply

Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published.

More in