Danny Meyer’s Magic Touch: How To Create 4-Star Experiences And Lines Around The Block
In the 25 years since, Meyer has opened 28 restaurants and–incredibly, given the cutthroat nature of the New York restaurant scene, where restaurants open and close more frequently than subway doors–he has only shut one down. Meyer’s Union Square Cafe, Eleven Madison Park, and Gramercy Tavern consistently appear on most major New York top restaurant lists. Eleven Madison, which Meyer sold to its chef and General Manager in November, is one of only five Michelin 3-star restaurants in the city (Michelin’s highest rating); The New York Times gives Eleven Madison its highest rating of four stars. Only six restaurants in a city with 26,000 places to eat merit such a badge of honor.
As the CEO of Union Square Hospitality Group, Meyer oversees a large team that manages all of the restaurants and additional businesses, including the Shake Shack burger stands, which have in a few short years become a national and international brand, with locations in Miami, Washington D.C., Connecticut, Kuwait, and Dubai, among others. Demand for Shack burgers in New York is so frenzied that someone made a Shake Shack app that lets you watch live video feed of the line so you can plan your burger binge based on its (usually very long) length.
This week, he opened a Blue Smoke BBQ stand and another fine-dining restaurant, North End Grill, in New York’s Battery Park City. North End is his second collaboration with Chef Floyd Cardoz, recently the winner of Top Chef Masters.
We sat down with Meyer at North End Grill to talk about the lessons he’s learned in a famously risky industry, and the secret ingredient of his success that has stayed the same all these years. [more...]