Meyer in 2010
March 14, 1958 |
St. Louis, Missouri
|Known for||Restaurant founder|
|Spouse(s)||Audrey Rayelyn Heffernan|
Meyer was born and raised in a reform Jewish family in St. Louis, where he attended John Burroughs School. Meyer attended Camp Nebagamon for boys in Lake Nebagamon, Wisconsin, as a kid. Meyer worked for his father as a tour guide in Rome during college, and then returned to Rome to study international politics. Meyer was a Brother of Alpha Delta Phi while at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut. After graduating from Trinity in 1980 with a degree in political science, Meyer worked in Chicago as Cook County Field Director for John Anderson's 1980 independent presidential campaign. Meyer later gained his first restaurant experience in 1984 as an assistant manager at Pesca, an Italian seafood restaurant in the Flatiron District of New York City. He then returned to Europe to study cooking as a culinary stagiaire in both Italy and Bordeaux.
Meyer’s restaurants and other businesses include Union Square Cafe, Gramercy Tavern, Blue Smoke and Jazz Standard, Shake Shack, The Modern, Cafe 2 and Terrace 5 at MoMA, Maialino at the Gramercy Park Hotel, Untitled at the Whitney Museum, North End Grill, Marta, Porchlight, GreenRiver, Union Square Events, and Hospitality Quotient. Union Square Events, USHG's catering division, operates several concessions at major sports facilities (Shake Shack, Blue Smoke, El Verano Taqueria, Box Frites, and Papa Rosso) including the Mets Citi Field, Saratoga Race Course, and Nationals Park, Washington, D.C.
Meyer co-wrote The Union Square Cafe Cookbook (HarperCollins, 1994) with his business partner, Chef Michael Romano. The book earned the IACP Julia Child Award for the best new cookbook by a first-time author, and was followed up with the highly acclaimed Second Helpings from Union Square Cafe (HarperCollins, 2001). Meyer also wrote the New York Times bestseller Setting the Table (HarperCollins, 2006), which examines the power of hospitality in restaurants, business, and life. In May 2009, Meyer's restaurants released a cocktail cookbook, Mix Shake Stir (Little, Brown) featuring 140 recipes, along with tips, anecdotes and photography.
Meyer has served on the boards of Share Our Strength and City Harvest. In addition, he served as Co-Chair of the Union Square Partnership for 5 years and as an executive committee member for NYC & Co and the Madison Square Park Conservancy.
Four of USHG’s restaurants have earned three stars from The New York Times; Eleven Madison Park was upgraded to four stars in 2009. USHG's restaurants routinely appear among the Most Popular in New York City according to the Zagat guide, including Union Square Cafe, which has held the #1 spot nine times. Eleven Madison Park held three Michelin Stars, The Modern earned its second Michelin Star in 2015, Gramercy Tavern holds one Michelin Star, and GreenRiver was awarded one Michelin Star in 2016. In 2016, The Modern was awarded a Wine Spectator Grand Award in 2016.
I grew up in a reform Jewish family in St. Louis. Our idea of Judaism was no Bar mitzvahs and a Christmas tree that had a skirt at the bottom embroidered with the names of my grandparents
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