Meet Molly, the Riverside native.
This ambitious 17-year-old has deep roots in Riverside. She attended Emanuel Lutheran for elementary, Encore High School from seventh to 11th grade and now Poly High School for her senior year. She was not only born and raised here but has been actively involved in the community. She has volunteered for the National Charity League, Operation SafeHouse, the Riverside Art Museum and the Fox Theater, which later turned into an internship in Summer 2019. After high school, Molly plans to attend a top-tier hospitality management school in Switzerland.
How long have you been in business?
“Manchego By Molly opened in December of 2019.
Since opening, my favorite event that I’ve done was a fundraiser for Patricia Lock Dawson. It was down on Sixth Street by The Art Gallery. I [provided boards] for one of her fundraisers and that one was really fun to do because I did three different tables. It was like charcuterie all over the place!”
Why did you decide to open Manchego By Molly?
“Ever since I was young, I’ve always wanted to kind of do my own thing, run my own business or start something new. My parents helped me to understand that I want to be true to myself. So that’s kind of how I started Manchego By Molly– I just found something I really liked.
[Manchego By Molly] has been a way for me to have a look into the hospitality industry, with customer service, preparing, guest services. This business really has been the start of wanting to continue a career in hospitality. And it has been a lot of fun doing it.”
“Manchego is my favorite cheese! In March, when the pandemic happened, I spent about one to two months in trial and error: figuring out what goes on a board, what doesn’t, what fits, what people like, figuring out who the clientele is and who the cheese board is for at that time. So, that’s why I chose my three staple cheeses: Brie, Cheddar and Manchego. Everybody likes Cheddar cheese, and Brie is a fancy cheese and most people like Brie and then Manchego is kind of a different thing that throws people off, but most people end up liking it.”
Do you feel supported by your friends and family?
Throughout it all, her best supporters have been her parents. Her mom is involved in almost every step of the charcuterie process.
“[My mom] makes my parmesan crisps and my mozzarella ball skewers. She adds all the cute touches. She’s my partner in crime. I would not be able to do all of this without her. She is the heart and soul of Manchego By Molly.”
How have you grown your business despite the pandemic?
“Knowing a lot of people in Riverside has definitely helped my business grow. I started by just word-of-mouth. My mom would suggest me to people. My dad would tell people, ‘Oh, you could have Molly do a cheeseboard.’ I think that’s really been helpful in growing my business and it gave me a starting point. Since then, I’ve now expanded to people I don’t know. And it’s so cool because at first, it was only our close friends that would order from me. But now I have clients 20 miles away.”
How do clients order boards from you?
Are your boards inspired by Riverside?
“Of course! I always put candied oranges on them. That’s my touch of Riverside and they go on every single board because they just are so cute. Everybody loves them and it’s a little touch of Riverside.”
What’s your favorite part about Riverside?
“My favorite thing about Riverside is going to the grocery store and running into someone every single time. We are all so connected and know each other. Everybody has mutual friends and I think that is so cool. Well, sometimes it’s hard– I mean you can’t go to the store in sweatpants! But it’s just so cool how everywhere you go, there’s going to be somebody you know.”
What will happen to Manchego By Molly when you leave for college?
“For the time being, Manchego By Molly will pause [in September]. Hopefully, I will come back in four years. Or if I have a free weekend I can do a little pop-up, but at the moment I’m taking a pause come September. Even though I’m leaving Riverside, I definitely will carry a sense of Riverside pride with me and I’m very proud to say I’m from Riverside. I think it’s cool that I’m from somewhere that I know so much about. I could go on and on for hours [about Riverside]. People used to call me the ‘raincross queen.'”
What is the one thing you wish everyone knew about Manchego By Molly?
“I just want to make sure people know that I love cheese boards … And hopefully Manchego By Molly will be back one day, but you can still order for four more months!
I also just like talking to and meeting new people and being in the middle of things and the rush– just seeing people enjoy [my boards] and get so excited. It’s the little things in life because something like that can change your day: When I deliver a surprise to someone, just seeing that their face lights up. It’s such a small thing but it really is heartwarming.”