Danny Meyer

CEO, Union Square Hospitality Group

About This Expert

Danny Meyer is the CEO of Union Square Hospitality Group (USHG), overseeing renowned NYC restaurants such as Union Square Cafe, Gramercy Tavern, Blue Smoke, The Modern, Maialino, Marta, Union Square Events, and Hospitality Quotient. Raised in St. Louis, Missouri, Meyer’s upbringing in a food-loving family and his father’s travel business instilled in him a passion for cuisine and hospitality from a young age.

In 1985, at 27, Meyer opened Union Square Cafe, pioneering a new breed of American eatery that combined imaginative food and wine with exceptional hospitality and comfortable surroundings. His success continued with Gramercy Tavern in 1994, offering refined American cuisine in a historic setting. In the late 1990s, Meyer added Eleven Madison Park and Tabla to his portfolio, both receiving acclaim, though Tabla closed in 2010 and Eleven Madison Park was sold in 2011.

USHG expanded further in 2002 with Blue Smoke and Jazz Standard, delivering top-notch barbecue and live jazz. The popular Shake Shack concept launched in 2004, growing into a global brand. In 2005, USHG introduced Union Square Events, a full-service catering and sports entertainment business, along with The Modern, Cafe 2, and Terrace 5 at the Museum of Modern Art. Maialino, a Roman-style trattoria, opened in 2009, followed by Hospitality Quotient, a consulting business, in 2010. USHG continued to innovate with Untitled at the Whitney Museum in 2011, North End Grill in 2012, Marta in 2014, and Porchlight in 2015.

Meyer’s restaurants and chefs have garnered 25 James Beard Awards. His book, “Setting the Table” (2006), is a New York Times bestseller, exploring the role of hospitality in business and life. A committed advocate against hunger, Meyer serves on the board of Share Our Strength and supports initiatives like City Harvest and the Bed-Stuy Campaign Against Hunger. He is also active in civic affairs, contributing to NYC & Co, Union Square Partnership, and the Madison Square Park Conservancy.

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