OU alum opens new hot spot in downtown Rochester

Mark Mendola graduated from Oakland University in 1986 with a bachelor’s degree in accounting. He is a vice chairman of PricewaterhouseCoopers and sits on the board of the business school at OU. He has also received the Alumni of the Year Award.

Mendola is the owner of D’Marcos Italian Restaurant and Wine Bar, which will be opening at the end of this month in downtown Rochester.

“I’ve lived in Rochester for about eight years and I’ve always had a love for the downtown area,” Mendola said.

Mendola and his partner Mike Thomas pursued the location, which was previously home to Mexican restaurant Rojo the moment it became available. The team purchased the building shortly after they began renovating the space.

“Being close to Oakland University was very important to me,” Mendola said. “We want to bring in students and faculty as customers, but we are also looking to hire students looking for work. I really want to give back to Oakland University in any way that I am able to.”

The team has been renovating the location since November and the space was given a complete makeover.

“The only thing that we didn’t change was the stairway that leads to the basement,” Thomas said. “Everything else has been completely revamped. We wanted to give the building a new feel. By changing it up, it feels like we are bringing something fresh and new to the area.”

The duo also felt that downtown Rochester seemed like the ideal location for a place like D’Marcos.

“The local community and surrounding businesses have been so welcoming,” Mendola said. “They seem really excited for us to open, which is extremely encouraging.”

One of the main goals Mendola expressed was making both Oakland and the city of Rochester proud. He is hoping the business can become an integral part of the community.

“We are really taking our time with the preparation and we want to open when we feel ready,” he said. “We want this to become a regular spot for students, faculty and alumni of OU.”

The restaurant serves authentic Italian food and wine. In addition to the wine bar and dining area, D’Marcos also has a banquet room that seats 60 people. Mendola is hoping to use this room to host events for OU in the future.

“A lot of great restaurants in the area don’t have this kind of private seating, so it’s exciting to be able to offer that to the people of Rochester,” he said.

D’Marcos is also hiring in all positions, including a full wait staff, and will begin training new employees this month. An application can be found on their website.

“We are more than happy to work with students’ schedules,” Thomas said. “We understand that school comes first and are open to hiring people who want a job over school breaks as well.”

D’Marcos is located at 401 S. Main St. in downtown Rochester.