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RH Regional Powerhouses

2014 RH 25: Major Food Group

The best and brightest restaurant companies are not just creating one great concept; they're creating many. See Restaurant Hospitality's picks for powerful multiconcept companies that not only play it cool, they kick ass. See all concepts >>

From left: Mario Carbone, Jeff Zalaznick and Rich Torrisi

New York City

Annual Sales: $30 million-$50 million

Units: 8

Key Personnel:
• Mario Carbone, managing partner
• Rich Torrisi, managing partner
• Jeff Zalaznick, managing partner

• Torrisi Italian Specialties (a boutique tasting room of updated Italian-American cuisine)
• ZZ’s Clam Bar (raw bar selection and small seafood plates paired with cocktails from around the world)
• Dirty French (classic French bistro)

• Parm (a casual restaurant and sandwich shop with four units that celebrates classic Italian-American food)
• Carbone (a menu that pays homage to the Italian-American NYC restaurant of the mid-20th Century with one unit in NYC and one in Hong Kong)

• High Line Restaurant (a restaurant near the High Line, a public park built on an elevated historic freight rail line in NYC)
• New York Bagel Project (a bakery/restaurant in partnership with Melissa Weller, a bagel guru who formerly worked at Per Se and Roberta’s)

WHY IT’S COOL: Italian food may be the most popular cuisine on the planet, but the American interpretation of it—Italian-American food—has been badly abused and misused over the years. But along comes three native 30-something New Yorkers who are in love with their city and with the gloriousness that can be Italian-American food. Their restaurants are shrines to that genre and classic dishes, such as veal Parmesan, zuppa di pesce and lobster fra diavolo. It’s peasant cooking that stands on its own at Parm or is elevated at Torrisi and Carbone. Both customers and critics swoon over their places. A couple years back, New York magazine rated Torrisi the No. 1 Italian restaurant in New York, while it was also nominated for the James Beard Foundation’s Best New Restaurant in America. With that said, Major Food Group is no one-trick pony. It recently opened a Gallic bistro called Dirty French and will soon open a Jewish-style bakery and restaurant. With this sort of talent and passion, it’s no wonder why these three young guys have become a dominating culinary force in New York.

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