We sat down with Moto's newest leader, Robert Rose.
Rob began his journey with M Street at Kayne Prime in 2013 as a Food Runner and eventually worked his way up to the Beverage Director at Kayne Prime, serving as a certified Level 2 Sommelier. His desire to challenge himself and further his education allowed for him to transition into the role of General Manager at Moto. With his vast history of experience, Rob serves as both a role model and friend to the entire M Street family.
Where are you from?
I am from Clarksville, TN. My dad was in the military, so we moved around a lot until he retired in Tennessee.
How did you end up in Nashville?
I moved to Nashville in 2012 with my wife as she was getting her Master’s Degree at Belmont.
What influenced your transition from Kayne to Moto?
I am always seeking to grow in my role at M Street, so my transition from Kayne to Moto was all about development and learning how I could best manage not only one department but also an entire fine dining restaurant, which I had not done before. Even though I have vast fine dining experience from Kayne, I knew that translating that to Moto would be both interesting and challenging.
What attracted you to Moto in particular?
I knew I liked working with wine, and Moto has an expansive wine list with a solid crew of knowledgeable team members. I had worked in Sushi before Kayne Prime, so I was excited to work in an Italian concept. It’s an open style of dining that can be designed any way you prefer, whereas Kayne is very systematic. Having a blank slate in terms of beverage and cuisine pairings at Moto is stimulating. I think it is M Street's most unique concept in that you can experience Moto in many different ways— any occasion, any budget, and any flavor— and still have a great time.
How are Moto and Kayne Prime different for you?
The big thing is that Moto is a more intimate place since it is smaller, so you get more opportunities to engage with guests. The team is also a lot smaller, so it feels very tight-knit. and you see the same faces more frequently. The Moto family has been so welcoming to me, and it's great to know my Kayne Prime family is just across the street.
Which competencies that you gained at Kayne Prime have helped you succeed thus far at Moto?
Running the beverage program at Kayne was a great foundation for managing an even more complex beverage program at Moto. Moto has a much more expansive list with a lot of variety, so having that wine knowledge from Kayne has been very helpful.
What is your vision for Moto?
I’d love to see the beverage education program grow and I’d love to see more Somms on the team so that we can really showcase how great our wine list is. There's definitely an opportunity to elevate Moto to that advanced level of wine pairing service.
What are you most excited about being the new leader of Moto?
I’m excited for a chance to connect with the staff and for them to come to me for anything. It’s different from when I was at Kayne Prime because people would come to me with beverage or wine questions, whereas I can assist my team with any challenge or opportunity that arises.
Where can we find you when you’re not on the block?
A lot of my time is spent with my family— my wife and my daughter— I can never get enough time with them. The rest of my time is spent fulfilling my obligations as a member of the Army Reserve, something I am still very passionate about to this day. The Reserve has taught me how to manage people and be responsible for multiple duties. A lot of the values from the Army Reserve have translated over well to managing people and achieving goals in the fine dining industry.
What is your favorite Moto dish?
Oh, this is tough. I am consistently blown away by the pizzas coming out of the pizza kitchen because they are really unique and different from a lot of the other dishes we offer. At the same time, we have a really fantastic Pork Chop that I regularly recommend to guests.
What is your favorite Moto wine or cocktail?
I enjoy the Barrel Aged Manhattan. It is really inventive and fun. Anytime you can barrel-age a cocktail it makes it so complex and flavorful.
Who do you look up to?
Chef Robert Grace. He has done so much for me in this company and has shown me the ropes since the beginning. He was there when I started at Kayne Prime as a Food Runner and encouraged me to learn more and grow with a career I didn’t even know I wanted to pursue at the time. He still guides me more than anyone to get better and challenge myself.
As an original pioneer of the true M Street spirit, Rob is an integral part of the M Street family. Rob continually sets the bar for guest experiences and is always yearning to grow and explore new realms of fine dining. We are so thankful to have Rob as part of the M Street family—it has been truly inspiring to watch him grow with us.