5Church’s Jamie Lynch and Patrick Whalen share unfiltered thoughts on restaurants, failure and more

If you’re looking for a life coach, you might want to consider 5Church Operating Partner Patrick Whalen. Especially when it comes to dealing with failure.

“Failure is great. Pursue failure,” Whalen said. “Don’t pursue success — try to fail. Because when you fail that’s where you learn. You don’t learn from, like, winning. … You learn from making mistakes.”

Added 5Church Executive Chef Jamie Lynch, “He’s the 5Church spirit animal.”

Whalen and Lynch were speaking last week at CharlotteFive’s first 35Below event, a speaker series aimed at bringing together Charlotte’s most talented young professionals and some of the biggest names in North Carolina.

The two talked about opening 5Church, what it was like to expand into a restaurant-rich city like Charleston and about making mistakes and how to learn from them. And Lynch talked a little bit about his appearance on the most recent season of “Top Chef.”

Lynch and Whalen then used the crowd, made up of representatives from 19 partner companies, as a focus group, asking the audience how it finds out about new restaurants and about new food trends.


We recorded the whole talk for a special episode of the CharloteFive Podcast, which you can find on iTunes or wherever else you get your podcasts.

Some highlights from the discussion:

– “The corporate model is flawed when it comes to restaurants. 5Church is us: It’s our arms, it’s our legs. To open another 5Church, it takes one of us to be there” for success to happen. – Lynch

– “When you’re young, you have energy. When you’re young, you have passion. … Money is (meaningless). Sure, it matters when bills are due, but what counts is passion, hard work, inspiration, talent. Those are things that mean success.” – Whalen

– “Have any of you ever gone online and read a review about you? It doesn’t happen in the normal world. We fail every day and we’re notified daily and publicly. But if you’re not willing to muscle through the visceral truth, you won’t learn.” – Whalen

– If you order coffee at 5Church, you’ll get a cup of jellybeans beside your cream and sugar. Why? One word: Instagram.


For more, listen to the full conversation on the CharlotteFive Podcast.

For more information about the 35Below speaker series, get in touch with events director Jen Rothacker at

The CharlotteFive Podcast — presented by The Charlotte Observer and powered by OrthoCarolina — is a weekly podcast that aims to get you Charlotte Smart, Fast with fun, interesting and useful news about the city. It’s hosted by Corey Inscoe and Sarah Crosland, and produced by Richard Brooke and 2Waves Media.

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Photo: Sallie Funderburk