Larkin's Restaurants – Grown from the voices of locals

When you base your concepts on a philosophy of exceeding your guests’ expectations by always looking for new ways to improve with an eye towards giving back to the community, it pays off by growing a loud and dedicated fan base.  Larkin’s is Greenville born but our mission is grown from the voices of locals.

It started with a dream of boating to work. In the late nineties Mark and Larkin Hammond decided to leave the corporate world and open a place of their own nestled on the edge of Lake Lure in North Carolina. They called the restaurant, Larkin’s on the Lake and went to work defining their brand of hospitality.

As the restaurant started to flourish, Mark and Larkin started laying plans for the future for what would grow into the Larkin’s Restaurant Group.

Moving ahead to 2005, the duo took a trip to the city of Greenville and saw the potential of being a leader in the revival of its downtown area. Larkin walked into an old, dark steakhouse and had a vision of what it could become and from this, Larkin’s on the River was born.

Larkin’s on the River quickly defined fine dining in downtown Greenville and became the favorite dining spot for locals and visitors alike. The space had several areas for large groups and the addition of Kristina Murphy to the Larkin’s family, helped open the doors to a new arm of the business, Larkin’s Catering and Events. Over the years, they would open several event spaces including Larkin’s Sawmill and The L and gain the trust of thousands as they produced one amazing event after another.

As the Larkin’s Restaurant brand continued to flourish, new ideas and dreams started becoming goals and goals became reality.

Larkin had restaurants named for her, now it was Mark’s turn and they opened a sophisticated burger joint in downtown Greenville named Grill Marks. With a focus on fun, delicious burgers, Freakshakes and creative cocktails, this concept grew to three locations.

Grounded at the heart of Larkin’s Restaurants is the firm sense of family. Holding true to this feeling, Larkin and Mark sold their first restaurant to their long-time managing partners, Robin and Lewis Bentley who continue to operate the space as The Lakehouse Restaurant. Mark and Larkin feel a sense of accomplishment in seeing their team succeed.

In 2015, while walking through an available space in downtown Greenville, everyone though it was giving off a distinct Italian vibe. Over a few glasses of prosecco, it was decided that they would pay homage to Larkin’s Italian heritage and share some of her Grandparents recipes with the world, enter Limoncello. It has turned into a neighborhood gathering spot with guests dining nightly around the fountain on the beautiful Piazza.

As we grow our team the new ideas and exciting plans for our future keep flowing. As great as our past has been, all eyes are looking forward!

Our Team

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Kristina Murphy

Owner, COO

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Adam Hayes

Owner, CFO

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Larkin Hammond

Founder

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Mark Hammond

Founder

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Bruce Wise

Vice President

You're at home here

We take pride in our family-minded, community-focused approach to business. Every product we create, franchise we sell, and guest experience we provide is a reflection of our dedication to working together as a team to create the best possible experience for every customer.

Philanthropy

Larkin is the first one to give back to those in need. She started Rhythm on the River, a weekly concert series, which contributed over $700,000 to local Greenville charities. She makes sure that each local charity is on her radar and she drives a “give-back” culture in the company and her staff forwards this in many ways. “ What is money if you can’t give it away?” says Larkin.  “That’s how it brings you happiness.”

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KRISTINA MURPHY

OWNER, CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER

"It's more than a menu, a place setting and décor— It's an opportunity to create an experience that will leave a lasting impression."

Kristina’s journey continues as the new owner and Chief Operating Officer of Larkin’s Restaurants. As the previous VP of Larkin’s Catering and Restaurant operations, she has seen the growth and been in the thick of this family-owned restaurant group since before there was anything on the other side of the Reedy River from the Wyche Pavilion. 

Kristina embarked on her journey from Louisiana to Greenville following Hurricane Katrina. Her transition was fueled by years of experience with a diverse background spanning casual dining and prestigious venues like West Point Academy.  She honed her skills in culinary arts and event management before becoming the VP of Catering for Larkin’s Restaurants. Kristina’s hallmark lies in her ability to transform client visions into reality, crafting events that are unique and unforgettable. Her impressive portfolio includes catering for BMW, SC Charities, Michelin, and more. In Greenville’s vibrant culinary scene, Kristina’s passion and dedication shine through, making her a visionary force in every event she orchestrates

Email: Kristina@LarkinsRestaurants.com

LARKIN LAWSON HAMMOND

Chief Creative Officer

“I am inspired everyday with what I see in the world. The opportunity to learn from others is priceless and my imagination, endless”

Larkin Lawson Hammond is a founder of the Larkin’s Brand including Larkin’s on the River, Larkin’s on the Lake, Larkin’s Carolina Grill, Bayfront Bar and Grill, Larkin’s Catering & Events and Grill Marks. She designs, consults and creates a restaurant atmosphere that exudes warm southern charm with unique style and flair.  

Born and raised in the south, Larkin worked in her Grandmother’s roadside restaurant, giving her a taste for good food at an early age. She always knew she wanted to work for herself and create exciting ways to earn a living. After college, her first career was building and racing off-shore powerboats. Larkin then moved on to buying neglected homes to remodel and sell. Expanding her horizons, she moved to California and took on a career in real estate. Going all in, as Larkin does, she became the president of the Board of Realtors of South Orange County and one of the top producers in the area. 

In 1998 she moved to NC and bought her first restaurant. She took a shabby old bar and turned it into a great place to sit on the lake and enjoy a great burger and margarita. Needing that occasional “big city fix,” she traveled to Greenville, SC and walked into an old, smoky steakhouse. Larkin fell in love with the bones of the place. It was not for sale, but after two years of persuasive discussions, she convinced the owner to retire. That was 2005 and now Larkin’s on the River has the enviable reputation as the best restaurant in Greenville.

In the back of her mind, Larkin still held on to the dream she carried from those days working in her grandmother’s restaurant— to open a hamburger stand. Larkin came up with the concept and design of a sophisticated burger joint that serves the best burgers. Grill Marks, in the heart of Greenville, SC was born. Since then, Grill Marks has expanded, opening a second location in Columbia (2015) and a third location in the Haywood Mall of Greenville (2017). 

Larkin is the first one to give back to those in need. She started Rhythm on the River, a weekly concert series, which contributed over $700,000 to local Greenville charities. She makes sure that each local charity is on her radar and she drives a “give-back” culture in the company and her staff forwards this in many ways. “ What is money if you can’t give it away?” says Larkin.  “That’s how it brings you happiness.”

ADAM HAYES

EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT

"I love what I do and bring an unrivaled energy with me everywhere I go. There's always a way to make it happen."

Chef Adam Hayes, new owner and Chief Operating Officer, drives innovation and culinary excellence at Larkin’s Restaurants. His arrival in April 2019 has reshaped the establishment’s culinary landscape. With an extraordinary talent for crafting exceptional dishes and a passion for mentoring the culinary team, Chef Hayes quickly became a cornerstone of Larkin’s leadership.

Chef Hayes’s illustrious career is punctuated by notable achievements, including triumphs such as winning the Food Network’s “Cutthroat Kitchen” and hosting prestigious dinners for the James Beard Foundation. His culinary journey has taken him through esteemed establishments across North Carolina and Georgia, where he honed his skills and earned acclaim, notably at the Red Stag Grill in Biltmore Village, Canyon Kitchen in Cashiers, N.C., and Barnsley Resort in Georgia.

Beyond his accolades, Chef Hayes embodies a commitment to innovation and creativity that resonates throughout Larkin’s culinary offerings. His collaborative spirit and dedication to excellence have elevated Larkin’s reputation, cementing its status as a culinary destination in Greenville’s thriving food scene. With his visionary approach, Chef Hayes continues to shape the future of Larkin’s, promising unforgettable dining experiences for years to come.Email: Adam@larkinsrestaurants.com

MARK HAMMOND

PRESIDENT / CEO

“That was yesterday - now how are we going to make it better today?”

Mark Hammond is a founder of Larkin’s Restaurants Group, including Larkin’s on the Lake, Larkin’s on the River, Larkin’s Carolina Grill, The Bayfront Bar & Grill, Larkin’s Catering & Events and Grill Marks.

Growing up in California, Mark developed his penchant for enjoying food, wine and time with friends during family trips to Napa Valley. While obtaining his commercial pilot’s license and aeronautical engineering degree, he took a part time job frying taco shells at a local Taco Bell. Little did he know, that first job would lead to a life-long career in the restaurant business. He soon traded his enjoyment of flying for his passion for food, wine and the opportunity to work for the largest Taco Bell franchisee. Through several mergers and acquisitions, Mark propelled his career through a variety of positions including multi-unit management and corporate training and development during his 20 years in what were the restaurant divisions of Pepsi-Co, now Yum Brands.

In late 1998, Mark decided to go on his own and leverage his vast restaurant expertise by opening his first restaurant in North Carolina. Purchasing an existing operation, he re-branded the business with new décor, new menu and a new name. The revenue doubled in its second year of operation and continued an upward trend ever since. Mark has retained the current management for over 12 years, delivering annual bottom line growth with increasing guest satisfaction.

Water skiing to work was fun, but after several years of having a great management team in place, it was time to move on to another challenge. Mark soon opened another restaurant and catering company in South Carolina. Again, he put together a great management team and grew the award-winning business to new heights. Having a deeply engrained, multi-concept nature, he decided to branch out further and developed a new concept: Grill Marks— a sophisticated burger joint in Greenville and Columbia SC.

Mark has become the foundation of the company and has created a culture that leverages an entrepreneurial spirit to the benefit of the guest, the team members and the bottom line. He is always there whenever and wherever he is needed and his philanthropic efforts help others everyday. Whether through chartable organizations, or helping team members in his own company, Mark’s greatest enjoyment is helping others succeed beyond their own limits.

BRUCE WISE

VICE-PRESIDENT, RESTAURANT OPERATIONS, FINE DINING

"Looking into a guest’s eyes and knowing we produced for them a night of escape to enjoy some great moments in life is all the job fulfillment I could ever dream of."

Bruce Wise joined the Larkin’s Team in 2009.

Bruce moved to Greenville after conducting a web search for “great places to raise a family.” In the restaurant business all of his life, Bruce has been instrumental in creating a culture of service in the hospitality industry in Greenville.

Born and raised in the Pacific Northwest, Bruce has a natural and true appreciation for wine. Bruce attended college in Oregon’s Wine Country, experiencing Oregon’s coveted Pinot Noir, as well as earning a wealth of knowledge of wine and viticulture. 

Bruce has earned Wine Spectator Wine List awards for Larkin’s on the River, Limoncello and Grill Marks.

Email: Bruce@LarkinsRestaurants.com