10 Questions

Jonathan Swan ’05 is the owner of Ox and Stone, Dorado, and The Daily Refresher, all restaurants in Rochester, New York.


What trait do you like most about yourself?

I’m resourceful. In my trade, my ability to overcome difficulties has served me well. I’ve learned to foster the success of my employees by working very hard to limit the barriers to the efficient completion of their jobs.


Who are your heroes in real life?

Warren Buffett. He’s self-made, honest, philanthropic, unassuming, motivated, traditional, and successful. Also, Joe Montana. He’s the greatest quarterback of all time (I’m a Niners fan) and is responsible for some of the greatest sports thrills of my life.


What trait do you like least about yourself?

Any company can only be as good as every employee in it, and in mine, it is my responsibility to inspire, prepare, encourage, and delegate. But sometimes, unfortunately, I skip that, and try to do it all myself.


What is the best thing about your current job?

My current job allows me to influence the community in a positive way through creativity and inspiration from travel and experience. When I walk into a new place, I often will relate it to my businesses. Whether it be at a world-class restaurant like Pujol in Mexico City, or at an art museum in Manhattan, or at dinner at Rocco on Monroe Avenue, there are constantly moments that inspire me, and I love that.


When and where are you happiest?

I am happiest when I am absorbing new experiences, especially with my fiancé Sarah and my family and friends, in a new place.


What is your favorite meal, and why?

My mother’s Swedish pancakes, because they’re so nostalgic to me.


What is your most treasured possession?

Recently, Sarah and I purchased a home together, and that is hands-down my most treasured possession, not only because of what it is, but for what it symbolizes. That’s the place where so many memories will be made for me, for Sarah, our families, our children, our friends, and even Kaya (my French bulldog). I look forward to every day that we get to spend in that home.


What talent would you most like to have?

I’ve always wanted to be proficient at an instrument—guitar, mostly.


What’s your guilty pleasure?

Coca-Cola Classic—nothing beats the real thing.


If you could choose a person or a thing to come back as, who or what would it be?

Elon Musk. His success as a businessman is impressive, but I especially like how he applies his extreme intelligence for the betterment of mankind and our environment. I would really like to be in a position to influence the world in the innovative and big-picture way he does.

Jonathan Swan