Michael MorrisWine Director
Originally from Montclair, NJ, Mike grew up with a love for the culinary world. As a child he would watch cooking shows with his younger brother and then the two would attempt to recreate what they saw in their family’s kitchen – occasionally attempting a Julia Child imitation while they cooked.
After graduating from Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, NC, with a degree in political science, Mike headed to the food mecca of the U.S., New York City, to learn the culinary and hospitality business first-hand. He started as a wine buyer for The Chelsea Wine Vault, but the lure of the food world was too strong and he jumped to the famed TriBeCa Grill. He started as a server and eventually worked his way to sommelier where he guided diners through the Wine Spectator “Grand Award”- winning wine list. Following his stint at TriBeCa Grill, Mike moved to its sister restaurant, Montrachet, where he worked as wine director until it closed its doors in 2005.
Seeking a change in pace from NYC and with his folks relocating to Seabrook Island, SC, Mike decided to move back south and landed in Charleston in 2005. He first started as wine buyer for the popular tapas and wine bar, Raval. When Raval closed for rebranding purposes, Mike went to work for Social Wine Bar, and then gained cocktail experience at Proof on Upper King Street.
When he heard about plans for The Park Cafe, Mike reached out to his old friend and The Park Cafe’s co-owner Xan McLaughlin who quickly hired him as bartender in April 2014. Mike helped round out the beverage program at the popular neighborhood restaurant and now serves as wine director. He tastes hundreds of wines and pairs them with executive chef Matt Canter’s celebrated food.
Mike appreciates pure, honest, small-production wines, whose makers have a personal connection to the land from which they come. He enjoys nothing more than pairing a wine with food that allows them both to shine. He sees many of the same faces several times a week at The Park Cafe and loves that the regulars trust him to pour wines they normally would not choose.
When not tasting wines, making selections or writing menus, Mike is at home on the ice, serving as a local hockey referee, keeping in touch with the sport he’s loved since he was a child.