Danny Meyer

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Danny Meyer
Danny Meyer FT Charity Wine Dinner 2010.jpg
Meyer in 2010
Born (1958-03-14) March 14, 1958 (age 61)
EducationTrinity College
Known forRestaurant founder
Net worth$660 Million
Spouse(s)Audrey Rayelyn Heffernan

Daniel Meyer (born March 14, 1958) is a New York City restaurateur and the Chief Executive Officer of the Union Square Hospitality Group (USHG).

Background and early career[edit]

Meyer was born and raised in a reform Jewish family in St. Louis,[1] where he attended John Burroughs School; as a child Meyer attended Camp Nebagamon for boys in Lake Nebagamon, Wisconsin. During college Meyer worked for his father as a tour guide in Rome 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,[2] 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.[3]


In 1985, at age 27, Meyer opened his first restaurant, In order to make it successful, Meyer focused on customer satisfaction.[4] Meyer’s other restaurants and businesses include 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 North End Grill, Marta, Porchlight, GreenRiver, Union Square Events, and Hospitality Quotient.[5] 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.[6]

In 2010, Meyer participated in a documentary called "The Restaurateur".[7][8]

In late 2011, Union Square Hospitality group sold Eleven Madison Park to its chef Daniel Humm and front-of-house director Will Guidara.[9]


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.[10]

Community activism[edit]

Meyer has served on the boards of Share Our Strength and City Harvest.[11] In addition, he served as Co-Chair of the Union Square Partnership for 5 years[12] and as an executive committee member for NYC & Co and the Madison Square Park Conservancy.[13]

Ratings and reviews[edit]

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.[14] Eleven Madison Park held three Michelin Stars, The Modern earned its second Michelin Star in 2015, Gramercy Tavern holds one Michelin Star,[15] and GreenRiver was awarded one Michelin Star in 2016. In 2016, The Modern was awarded a Wine Spectator Grand Award in 2016.


Meyer and USHG have won 28 James Beard Foundation Awards.[16][failed verification]

Podcast Appearances[edit]

Meyer was interviewed by Reid Hoffman on the Masters of Scale podcast, where he talked about how he ignored conventional wisdom to revolutionize the restaurant industry.[19]


  • Setting the Table : The Power of Hospitality in Restaurants, Business, and Life
  • The Union Square Café Cookbook
  • Second Helpings from Union Square Cafe
  • Mix Shake Stir

Book Reviews[edit]

  • The Union Square Cafe Cookbook was described in the New York Journal of Books as ". . . expertly adapted for home use and offers many dishes worth trying and adding to your repertoire."[20]

Personal life[edit]

In 1988, Meyer married Audrey Rayelyn Heffernan in an interfaith Roman Catholic and Jewish service at Unitarian Church of All Souls in Manhattan.[21]


  1. ^ Kahn, Howie. "Two Wise Men". GQ. 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
  2. ^ Fabricant, Florence. "Times Topics - Danny Meyer". The New York Times.
  3. ^ "Danny Meyer". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 4 October 2011.
  4. ^ "Danny Meyer interview". BigHospitality.co.uk.
  5. ^ Wilsey, Sean (2011-08-04). "A Movable Feast: Danny Meyer on a Roll". The Times Magazine. Retrieved 2011-09-07.
  6. ^ Sutton, Ryan (2009-04-22). "Citi Field's $48 VIP Meal, Shake Shack Burgers, Beer: Food Buzz". Bloomberg.com. Retrieved 2011-09-07.
  7. ^ "The Restaurateur (2010)". IMDB.
  8. ^ "A Look at the Danny Meyer Documentary The Restaurateur".
  9. ^ Amanda Kludt (4 October 2011). "Danny Meyer Confirms Eleven Madison Park Sale". Eater NY.
  10. ^ "Hachette Book Group". Retrieved 4 October 2011.
  11. ^ "At the Chef's Table: Restaurant Partners". Retrieved 12 September 2011.
  12. ^ "Danny Meyer Turns Over Helm of Union Square Partnership". Archived from the original on 27 August 2011. Retrieved 12 September 2011.
  13. ^ "Danny Meyer". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 12 September 2011.
  14. ^ Wilsey, Sean (2011-08-04). "A Movable Feast: Danny Meyer on a Roll". The Times Magazine. Retrieved 2011-09-07.
  15. ^ "Michelin Guide Unleashed". Eater NY. Retrieved 2011-10-04.
  16. ^ "James Beard Foundation web". Retrieved 12 September 2011.
  17. ^ "Iconic Restaurant Industry Leader, Danny Meyer, To Receive 2018 TDn2K Workplace Legacy Award". Retrieved 11 January 2018.
  18. ^ "Penn State's School of Hospitality Management Names Danny Meyer as Conti Professor". hhdev.psu.edu. Retrieved 2014-08-13.
  19. ^ "Danny Meyer – Masters of Scale". WaitWhat. Retrieved 2019-03-14.
  20. ^ Penny Pleasance. "Book review: The Union Square Café Cookbook: 160 Recipes from New York's Acclaimed Restaurant". New York Journal of Books.
  21. ^ New York Times: "Daniel Meyer Weds Audrey Heffernan" August 28, 1988

External links[edit]