What is in this article?:
- Union Square Hospitality Group: A well-oiled machine
- Why sibling rivalry is good
This is part of Restaurant Hospitality’s special coverage of the 2014 South Beach Wine & Food Festival held in Miami Beach, Fla., Feb. 20-23.
Danny Meyer's restaurant group operates some of New York City's finest establishments.
There is little doubt that Danny Meyer, the c.e.o. of Union Square Hospitality Group, is among the most respected restaurateurs in the land. He was in Miami Beach recently to attend a tribute dinner in his honor, but he took time to sit down with Jennifer Baum of Bullfrog & Baum to discuss his business as part of the festival's trade talk series. Meyer's company operates some of New York City's greatest restaurants, including Union Square Cafe, Gramercy Tavern, Shake Shack, Maialino, Blue Smoke and much more. Joining Meyer and Baum for the trade conversation were:
• Randy Garutti, c.e.o. of Shake Shack
• Carmen Quagliata, executive chef and managing partner of Union Square Cafe
• Michael Anthony, executive chef and managing partner of Gramercy Tavern
• Nick Anderer, executive chef and managing partner of Maialino and the soon-to-open King & Grove.
Baum: Randy, you've worked the longest with Danny, 14 years. What was the first thing you noticed when you started working with him?
Garutti: I never wanted to work in New York City, but when I met with Danny for the first time I was so impressed with how sincere and caring he and his people truly were about the business. It made me want to work in the city.
Quagliata: The first thing I noticed when I began to work at Union Square Cafe was how genuine and friendly everyone in the company was, and I mean that from the corporate office on down. It made me want to emulate what I saw.
Baum: Michael, when you joined Gramercy Tavern it was an established restaurant. How difficult is it to walk into an environment like that?
Anthony: Before I even started, Danny made sure I met with everyone in the organization before I got into the kitchen. But it was Nick, who I knew before I arrived, who made it possible for me to learn the ins and outs of Gramercy.
Anderer: When I came to Gramercy I cooked with Tom Colicchio. But when he left I slowly put my mark on the place with my food, which is not like it was when Tom was cooking there. But we've managed to keep a familiarity about the place that people like.
Baum: What's important to know about Danny and his first restaurants is that they changed the face of high-end dining in this country. He relaxed the level of service that was customary at high-end restaurants, but maintained a comfortable elegance.
Baum: Michael and Carmen, you both entered established restaurants. How did you make them your own?
Anthony: My arrival at Gramercy was about the evolution of the restaurant. There was nothing broken about Gramercy when I arrived. It was up to me to bring energy and help it evolve.