About the team
James’ youth like many in this field started as a bus boy, server and bartender. After high school, he graduated from the University of Maryland, College Park, with a bachelor’s degree in communications, which helped mold him to be the master of communications that he is today. James had an interest in poker after college and he went on to win the 2005 United States Poker Championship. This allowed him to experience travel and fine dinning restaurants and eventually led him to pursue a career in the hospitality business. James started as an assistant manager at la Tavola, one of three DeNicola Brother Concept’s restaurants, and eventually became General Manager and helped inspire and build the restaurant to become voted a Newsday Top 10 restaurant on Long Island in 2008, the only remaining operating restaurant on that list today. James was integral in the launch of four more restaurants since his inception with the team. James’ true hospitality alongside his expertise in mixology, wine and food service have brought him to his position today. James received the proper mentoring and groundwork to move to the next step of his career; ownership. James currently resides in Oakdale with his wife and two children as a loving husband and father.
Kyle, like James, also grew up in Sayville. Currently living with his wife and 3 sons less than a mile away from Cafe Joelle is an extremely familiar feeling since the Kenny family owned and operated a business on Main Street in Sayville for more than 30 years. He looks to keep the tradition alive and be part of another successful business contributing to the town and community as he remembers throughout his childhood and early adult life. Kyle’s professional career involves operations management including staff and budgets nicely complimenting James’s front-and-back-end management skills. With master’s level education working towards his Executive MBA, Kyle will control all operating expenses from costs of goods sold to payroll.
Jake, being no stranger to hospitality, has been in the industry for more than half of his life. He moved from Briarwood, Queens to West Babylon, Ny at age 15. All of Jake’s older siblings had been in the restaurant business at one level or another so it was only natural for him to move in the same direction. He obtained his first job as a bus boy at a local restaurant and instantly fell in love with the work. Over the next several years he found himself working less in restaurants and more in finance. Jake worked as a loan officer at age 18. Loan officer by the week and server in West Hampton Beach on weekends. Still keeping the hospitality spark. While the economy fell in the early 2000’s he gave up mortgages to go to medical billing. After a short stint in that field, Jake moved back to working in restaurants full time where he learned to bartend.
Within the first year he became Bar Manager as well as being one the GM’s shortly after. With help from friends and mentors, he was steps closer to opening something of his own. Jake’s creativity and knowledge makes him a key player alongside James and Kyle at Joelle.