Tell us about yourself. How did you get started? What inspired you to be a restaurateur?
My first job was in college at Bern’s Steakhouse in Tampa, FL during college. I got a job in their cellar just to learn about wine so that I could be able to order off of a wine list (also just needed a job). I really enjoyed learning about wine and was always fascinated by restaurants because I’m from NYC. I decided to apply for a front of house internship and was accepted at Charlie Trotter’s in Chicago. After my internship (and college) ended, I moved to Chicago to take a full time position at Charlie Trotter’s. I worked my way up the ranks in Chicago and eventually was promoted into a managerial role at Chef Trotter’s Las Vegas restaurant inside on the Palazzo called Restaurant Charlie. I was there for a couple of years before coming home to work for Jean Georges Vongerichten at the Mark Hotel and then at Locanda Verde in TriBeCa. In terms of inspiration, I always looked up to Drew Nieporent and Myriad restaurant group when I was younger because I wanted to, and still want to, own multiple outlets.
What trends do you see in the hospitality world right now?
High prices and small portions. There also seems to be a lack of genuine ‘hospitality’ at most places, such as it being hard to get people to respond to emails and things of that nature.. I also think that everyone is putting the scene above the quality – most of what you find on social media is less good than the actual product that is delivered.
If you weren’t in hospitality, what would you be doing?
Something involving golf, or working as a bartender on a beach somewhere.
What are the best restaurants, besides yours, in New York?
Cafe Spaghetti is definitely one of the best restaurants in the city and an establishment that over-delivers on both food and service.
What is your secret to success?
You have to be hands on and detail oriented in this business. Everything matters equally – the dishwashing station in the basement is no less important than the host stand. Also it’s important to note, you’re only as good as the people around you so hiring and training is crucial.
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