Chef Danny Meyer of Union Square Café - Biography

New York , NY

October 2018

Born and raised in St. Louis, Danny Meyer grew up in a family that relished great food and hospitality. Thanks to his father’s travel business, which designed custom European trips, Meyer spent much of his childhood eating and visiting near and far-off places. After graduating from Trinity College in Hartford with a degree in political science, he spent a few years working on local and national political campaigns. His first real restaurant experience came in 1984 as an assistant manager at Pesca in New York City. This experience drove him to Europe to study cooking in Italy and Bordeaux.In 1985, at the age of 27, Meyer opened his first restaurant, Union Square Cafe. He focused heavily on customer satisfaction, laying the groundwork for his 2006 New York Times bestseller Setting the Table, which looks at the power of hospitality in restaurants, business, and life. Meyer continued to open award-winning restaurants: Gramercy Tavern, Blue Smoke and Jazz Standard, Shake Shack (and its 182 locations worldwide), The Modern, Maialino at the Gramercy Park Hotel, Untitled at the Whitney Museum, North End Grill, Marta, Vini e Fritti, Porchlight, and most recently, Tacocina, and Manhatta. Union Square Events, the catering arm of Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group, operates outposts in several major sporting facilities and handles large-scale events for public and private institutions.Together, Meyer and USHG restaurants and staff have won an unprecedented 28 James Beard Awards, including Outstanding Restaurateur (2005), and Meyer was inducted into Who’s Who of Food and Beverage in America in 1996.