Todd Barry ’88 MS started working in the restaurant business during the summer of 1982, between his junior and senior years at Franklin & Marshall College, when his family leased a small seasonal restaurant on Cape Cod called Al’s Hamburgers. The next year, the Barrys purchased the restaurant and changed the name to Moby Dick’s—over the ensuing four decades, it has become the quintessential Cape Cod clam shack, drawing customers from all over the world.
Todd Barry returned to the Cape after college, and early in his career working at Moby Dick’s, he decided to strengthen his hospitality knowledge base by pursuing a master’s degree at the UMass Amherst Hotel, Restaurant, and Travel Administration (HRTA) department (now the Hospitality and Tourism Management program at Isenberg). While at UMass, Barry was a teaching assistant for Frank Lattucca’s Introduction to Food Management class. Barry was excited to be learning about every corner of the business, including accounting, finance, marketing, as well as computer classes—all of which would allow him to become an exceptional business leader for his restaurant.
Running Moby Dick’s with his wife Mignon for the past four decades has allowed Barry to hire staff from all around the world, employing a crew of about 45 people every season. Barry provides housing for all his own staff, and he enjoys traveling in the off-season to recruit new crew members for the next season. He has employed people from the United Kingdom, South Africa, and Croatia, and plans on expanding to a multitude of different countries. Barry remarks, “It’s a lot of work but it’s a lot of fun.”
Barry found himself reconnecting with the HTM department in October of 2022, when he was asked to sit on a panel and return to campus to share his knowledge and experience with incoming first-year HTM majors. That trip to campus in October reminded Barry of when he was a student and what a wonderful time he had attending UMass. That crisp, October New England air gave him the inspiration and the desire to give back to the students. He wanted to be able to give a student a chance to live the life he’s been so grateful to live. “I get to live in a beautiful spot, and work for myself in a business that I love.”
He and his wife Mignon have created the Moby Dick’s Cape Cod Scholarship to help an undergraduate earn their degree, and be able to start their own restaurant, bar, or a little clam shack.
When asked about advice he has for current students, Barry offers, “Get experience during the summer… you’ll quickly learn what you like and don’t like.” Barry is very passionate about the fact that every work experience, good or bad, can be seen in a positive light. With the right mindset, it is easy to remember that every experience is still an experience to add to your career toolbelt, and something positive will always come out of it. Barry adds, “Savor every moment while at school, because time really does fly so fast. Find something you love, immerse yourself into it, and everything else will fall into place.” Barry stresses that it’s not about how much money can be made, but more about the experiences you gain, and finding something you love to do. That is the key to being happy in life, and that is especially important following the events of these last few years.
Barry encourages other alumni to get engaged with Isenberg and reconnect with people and their departments, to try to be of value to the students. “Use your knowledge and your experiences to help out those who are at a lower level.”