Meet the Member - Diane Wolf


Diane Wolf - owner of The Ugly Mug Diner and The Lobster Shanty in Salem - shares her perspectives on the culinary arts and their importance to the Creative Economy on the North Shore!

(PS. The Shanty opens back up on April 1! We’ll see you there!)

Tell us a bit about you and what you do?

We are a local dive bar & community gathering place where comfort food and good conversation hang out together – usually with music and adult beverages.

What do you love the most about your creative work?

Feeding people, the culinary arts, is one of the most intimate ways to interact with other humans. The intersection of hospitality, community & sustenance is where we create. I like to look at what we do as a kind of a performance art where every day is a bit chaotic and the improv players change from moment to moment.

How does your creative work contribute to the Creative Economy?

We give humans a place to gather to experience camaraderie, music and sustenance. We support local artists of all kinds and are active tenants of Artist’s Row. We contribute to the Plain Old economy as well, by employing about 20 to 30 people (seasonally), donating our time, money & talents to many local charities as well as paying a local meals tax that supports our city.

What’s your favorite part of creative work?

No two days are exactly the same. Some days it is very satisfying when you see strangers coming together to share music, dance or a good laugh. We’ve seen proposals, breakups, wedding days, funerals & new babies – along with the everyday kinship that humans need to thrive. Being seen as a community institution is a big responsibility, but it also can be very rewarding when we do things right. When what you do and say is very public, you feel compelled to always be at your best – it makes us better.

What’s the one thing people wouldn’t know about you or (your business)?

We try really hard to be good stewards to the planet. We compost, recycle and diligently work to reduce our water use as well as energy waste. Restaurants generally can be pretty wasteful and so we are very cognizant of what we use (or don’t use). We want to be good neighbors today AND tomorrow.

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