David Burley and Stephanie Shimp founded Highland Grill in St. Paul in 1993 and have not stopped, building on a vision of a restaurant company rooted in eateries with a distinct sense of place and neighborhood flavor—from the edgy Lowry near Uptown to the dynamic Freehouse in the North Loop to the old-school Groveland Tap in Mac-Groveland. The secret sauce is a sense for what people want to eat, with an emphasis on hospitality and popular pricing. Their businesses cut a different path than the many foodie-movement restaurants currently in vogue. (They also appear to be substantially more profitable.) Burley has been an outspoken proponent of a sub-minimum wage for tipped employees, earning him a fair measure of notoriety within the business.