Danny Meyer

CEO, Union Square Hospitality Group

About This Expert

Danny Meyer is the CEO of Union Square Hospitality Group, which includes Union Square Cafe, Gramercy Tavern, Blue Smoke, Jazz Standard, The Modern, Maialino, Untitled, North End Grill, Marta, Union Square Events, and Hospitality Quotient. Born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri, Danny Meyer grew up in a family that relished great food, cooking, get-togethers, travel and hospitality. Thanks to his father’s travel business, he spent much of his childhood eating, visiting near and far-off places, and sowing the seeds for his future passion for food, wine, and a successful career in the hospitality industry. In 1985, at age 27, Danny launched Union Square Cafe, pioneering a new breed of American eatery pairing imaginative food and wine with caring hospitality, comfortable surroundings and outstanding value. In 1994, Danny opened Gramercy Tavern, offering refined American cuisine in a historic landmark building. In late 1998, Danny welcomed guests to yet two more restaurants, Eleven Madison Park and Tabla. After 12 fulfilling years, Tabla closed its doors in December of 2010 and Eleven Madison Park was sold to its Chef and General Manager in 2011. In spring 2002, USHG opened Blue Smoke and Jazz Standard, offering mouthwatering real pit barbecue and world-class live jazz. In the summer of 2004, USHG launched Shake Shack, a modern-day roadside burger stand. Since then, new Shake Shack locations have opened across the east coast and internationally. In December 2005, USHG launched a full-service catering and sports and entertainment business, Union Square Events (formerly Hudson Yards), as well as The Modern, Cafe 2, and Terrace 5 at the newly re-opened Museum of Modern Art. In November 2009, USHG opened Maialino, a Roman-style trattoria in the Gramercy Park Hotel. The following February, USHG launched Hospitality Quotient, a learning and consulting business. In March of 2011, the company opened Untitled, a farm-to-table coffee shop at the Whitney Museum of American Art, which re-opened in the Whitney’s new Meatpacking District building as a fine dining restaurant helmed by Chef Michael Anthony in 2015. In January of 2012, USHG opened North End Grill, an American bar and grill located in Battery Park City. In 2014, the team behind Maialino opened Marta, a Roman-inspired pizza restaurant at the Martha Washington hotel. In 2015, the team behind Blue Smoke opened Porchlight, a Southern-inspired bar in the iconic Waterfront New York building in west Chelsea. Danny, his restaurants and chefs have earned an unprecedented 25 James Beard Awards. Danny’s first business book, Setting the Table (HarperCollins, 2006), a New York Times bestseller, examines the power of hospitality in restaurants, business and life. An active national leader in the fight against hunger, Danny serves on the board of Share Our Strength and has long supported hunger relief initiatives including City Harvest, God’s Love We Deliver, and the Bed-Stuy Campaign Against Hunger. He is equally active in civic affairs, serving on the executive committees of NYC & Co, Union Square Partnership, and the Madison Square Park Conservancy.

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