About Us

Over the last 20 years, our family of restaurants has celebrated many successes, not just as a team, but also as individual restaurant and food service professionals. Our company values and our family attitudes toward business are woven into everything we do, making our family a dynamic and rewarding environment in which to work, grow, and prosper. We pride ourselves on our connection to the local community and strive to be a cornerstone of support and reliability to Our People — it’s the foundation of our company’s mission.

Dan Tinghitella 

Chief Operating Officer
Paid in grits since 2016
As Chief Operating Officer, Dan oversees all aspects of daily operations across Jim Shirley’s family of restaurants. Dan’s role brings an emphasis to the importance of company culture, employee experiences, and the growth of each individual. 

Knowing Chef Jim’s reputation for delivering culinary quality and genuine hospitality, in 2016 Dan moved his young family to Santa Rosa Beach from South Florida to serve as the general manager over the company’s operations in Seaside, Florida — before being promoted to director of culture and operations — to reinforce the company’s vision and values.

Dan began his restaurant career at the age of fifteen, was managing partner of a steakhouse for over thirteen years, and general manager of an upscale pizza restaurant for over six years. He currently oversees the company’s management teams who serve 280+ seasonal and full-time employees, as well as oversees the logistics plans for company appearances like the latest trip to cook at the James Beard House in New York, Governor DeSantis’ inaugural candlelit dinner in Tallahassee, the Children’s Home Society of Florida’s annual fundraiser in Pensacola, and many, many more. Dan also played an integral part in the coordination and setup of the mobile relief kitchen in Port St. Joe that fed thousands of people in the area following hurricane Michael. Dan recently developed the b.f.f. concept that was introduced into the company’s portfolio in 2018 and assists with the strategic plans for all future projects. 

With his trademark devotion to his family, self-leadership, and extreme ownership, Dan empowers others to create a work-life balance. While he wears many hats to satisfy the diverse needs of his teams and responsibilities, his devotion is reflected by the quality of talent and relationships he has been able to enlist and nurture throughout his management career.  

Outside of the office, you can typically find Dan with his family — and most likely outdoors. He was appointed Chair of the Vision and Mission Committee for Dune Lakes Elementary School. Dan continues to serve on the Dune Lakes Elementary School Improvement Board, is on the Board of Trustees for the Point Washington United Methodist Church, and is the current chapter president of the Northwest Florida Chapter of the Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association.

Joyce Russell

Operations Assistant to the
Director of Culture and Operations
Paid in grits since 2014
Joyce is the operations assistant to the Director of Operations & Culture and personal assistant to Chef Jim Shirley. Joyce also holds a third job title — nationally renowned Paella Queen.

By day, Joyce skillfully manages executive administrative duties and assists on special projects. By night, Joyce brings the 30-A paella experience to her faithful followers and visitors who plan their vacations to the beach around her traditional Paella Night.

As a fixture on the Seaside culinary scene for over twenty-one years and previous experience in the financial sector, Joyce has a track record of strong performance in high-volume, high-pressure environments. Her experience also equips her to handling sensitive information and material, including her secret paella seasoning.

Joyce is active in the community and annually caters a group of nine professional women who gather together every year, and she has been catering the group for the last ten years.  Her family, close friends, and work are important to her and keep her motivated and driven to continue and achieve her vision of personal success.

Brian Salter

Chief Financial Officer
Paid in grits since 2019
Brian is a native of Jacksonville, Florida, and relocated to Northwest Florida in 2010 as part of a corporate relocation. After working in corporate finance and accounting for over 20 years, Brian opened his own CPA firm to be of service to others. Several years after fulfilling his dream of starting his boutique CPA firm, Brian joined Chef Jim Shirley Enterprises to help grow the existing businesses.

Brian is a licensed certified public accountant and holds a BBA in accounting from Stetson University and an MBA from the University of North Florida. He has served as treasurer for the Cultural Arts Alliance, Seaside Schools Inc., the Friends of the Coastal Branch Library and the Parish Council of Apostles By-the-Sea Anglican Church.

If not in the office, you can often find Brian enjoying the outdoor lifestyle that South Walton offers — running the vast trails in the forest, swimming, paddle boarding or kayaking. Brian resides in South Walton with his wife and their two sons.

Madison Shirley

Director of Brand & Storytelling
Paid in grits since 2021
A born and bred storyteller who grew up split between the hustle and bustle of her family's restaurants in the Florida panhandle and San Francisco, Madison has been spinning food yarns since before she could say 'grits á ya ya.' 

Always a bit of a bon vivant, there is nothing Madison loves more than exploring the diverse food scenes from coast to coast and learning about the history and culture packed into every bite. Meaning, she is quite at home here as the Director of Brand & Storytelling, working to tell the story of Jim Shirley's family of restaurants, food, the remarkable people who make up the team, and the communities they are part of.

At twelve, Madison's first job as a hostess at the Great Southern Cafe instilled in her a deep appreciation for some of the critical tenets of hospitality. This was long before computerized wait systems or buzzers, and she quickly learned that organization, clear communication, and a well-laid-out space led to much happier guests. And that nothing makes things better like a smile (and maybe a slice of key lime pie).

While attending school in the Pacific Northwest and Italy, Madison's understanding and passion for the agricultural story behind food grew as she took classes in organic horticulture, design, and marketing. Upon graduating, she found herself in the tech industry working for Adobe and Nest, where she had the honor of being mentored by some truly remarkable women. Still, she found that she missed the passion, community, and narrative that she had come to love within the food industry.

Finding her niche within the craft cider industry, Madison spent several years building and maintaining the brand for one of the largest independently owned craft alcohol suppliers in the nation. Here, she cemented her beliefs that food brings communities together and that she wanted to be an integral part of crafting that narrative. The youngest board member of the Northwest Cider Association, Madison is honored to be an advisor and advocate for many women and LGBTQ+ members of the industry.

When not espousing the good word of "Good Grits!," Madison can be found exploring the world with her partner Justin and their small army of pets (two dogs, two cats). Whether it's hiking through the Cascades in Oregon, kayaking along the shores of South Walton, going to concerts, or finding her next bite to eat, Madison is excited to embrace every adventure life throws at her one snack at a time.
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