Headquarters: New Orleans
Annual Sales: N/A
• Ralph Brennan, president
• Charlee Williamson, executive v.p.
• Haley Bittermann, director of operations and corporate chef
• Brett Gauthier, corporate executive pastry chef
• Red Fish Grill (casual New Orleans seafood)
• Ralph Brennan’s Jazz Kitchen (restaurant, quick-service facility and jazz club in Downtown Disney, Orlando)
• Ralph’s on the Park (eclectic comfort food)
• Café B (elevated neighborhood cuisine)
• Heritage Grill (American creole cuisine)
• Café Noma (casual American menu inside the New Orleans Museum of Art)
• Brennan’s (The iconic Brennan’s restaurant, which was shuttered years ago, will reopen in the fall.)
WHY IT’S COOL: The Brennan family in New Orleans is as close to restaurant royalty as you’ll find anywhere in America. Ralph Brennan grew up in the business observing his family create some of the most legendary restaurants New Orleans and this country have ever seen. He was a keen observer because his restaurants are now benchmarks on how it should be done. And he now sits on top of the hospitality industry mountain as a leader and spokesman (he is a past president and chairman of the National Restaurant Association and a Culinary Institute of America trustee). Few places in America are as obsessed with food as New Orleans, and in an industry that has elevated chefs to the level of celebrity, there’s something very old school about Ralph Brennan restaurants. While the food at all of Brennan’s places is terrific, service and hospitality are the primary focus. If you’ve eaten at one of his restaurants, you know how important service is to his employees. Brennan is the consummate restaurant operator in the consummate restaurant town.