Rising Star Restaurateur Michael Chernow of The Meatball Shop - Biography

New York, NY

August 2014

New York native Michael Chernow got his start in the restaurant business at 13. Only a year later, he met a young Daniel Holzman, and the pair worked side by side as restaurant delivery boys. Though they went their separate ways, Chernow had planted the seed of an idea: to open a restaurant together.

Chernow transitioned from bike runs to drink slinging at New York City nightclub Life. He learned quickly and moved up the ranks to become the youngest bartender on staff in just two years, alternating his seasons between Life and The Tavern in the Hamptons. Next, he signed on to launch Woo Lae Oak in the city and then took a position at the Los Angeles original in 2001. Returning to New York, Chernow opened Punch & Judy and then took a post behind the bar of Frank Prizanzano’s Frank on Second Avenue, where he worked for seven years and gained a large, loyal following.

But Chernow still stoked that early dream of ownership, pursuing degrees in culinary arts and restaurant management from the French Culinary Institute before contacting his old crony, Daniel Holzman. Together, the duo formulated fast-casual meatball concept Meatball Shop. Opening first on the Lower East Side in 2011, Chernow and Holzman now run four Meatball Shop locations in Manhattan and Brooklyn, building community, sourcing locally, sharing their kitchens with upstart businesses, and donating their time and resources to charities. In 2013, Chernow was named StarChefs.com Community Rising Star.