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danny meyer Melissa Hom
Danny Meyer

2017 RH 25: Union Square Hospitality Group

The restaurant world can’t help but watch Danny Meyer.

This year, Restaurant Hospitality collected the 25 most powerful multiconcept operators across the country, or what we call the RH 25. With this list, there is no ranking. All 25 are powerful, and all 25 are companies to watch. See all concepts >>

HQ: New York

Leadership: Danny Meyer, founder and CEO; Ron Parker, chief operating officer; Richard Coraine, chief of staff

Group systemwide sales: Not disclosed

Concepts: Union Square Cafe, Gramercy Tavern, Blue Smoke & Jazz Standard, The Modern, Café 2 and Terrace 5 at the Museum of Modern Art, Maialino, North End Grill, Marta, Porchlight, Untitled at the Whitney Museum, Studio Café, GreenRiver, Daily Provisions

What’s new: Roman-style pizzeria Martina, a Roman coffee bar called Caffe Marchio, and a wine bar called Vini e Fritti

Not resting on their laurels

The restaurant world can’t help but watch Danny Meyer.

Since opening Union Square Cafe in 1985, Meyer has built a restaurant and catering company that exemplifies his philosophy of hospitality, which puts employees first.

Meyer has been a longtime advocate of eliminating a service system that relies on tips, which he calls “antiquated.” His restaurants are transitioning to a hospitality-included model designed to compensate workers more equitably as a team.

And that’s only one thing the multiconcept operator has been working on.

Last year, the group reinvented its founding concept Union Square Cafe, moving it down the street and reopening it in December, followed by a casual, adjacent outlet called Daily Provisions.

Next year, Meyer will bring Union Square Cafe to Washington, D.C., where it will be part of a massive, mixed-use development called Capitol Crossing. USHG will curate other food-and-drink outlets there.

This year, back in New York, the group opened Martina, a fast-casual pizzeria offering made-to-order pies, meatballs, salads and gelato at an accessible price.

Also scheduled in August in New York, was a new café and sandwich shop called Caffe Marchio. In September, the group is scheduled to open a wine bar called Vini e Fritti, with aperitivi and fried nibbles

Coming is an as-yet-unnamed restaurant on the 65th floor of the 28 Liberty Street tower in New York.

USHG, of course, also gave birth to the Shake Shack chain, now a separate public company.

Meyer has continued to invest in other emerging brands, including Tender Greens, Joe Coffee and Salt & Straw, further expanding the restaurant group’s impact and planting seeds for the future.

Next: Alta Group
Previous: Mina Group

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