Restaurateur Jennifer Pelka of The Riddler - Biography

San Francisco, CA

May 2019

Jen Pelka began her career in New York at Daniel in a range of roles from stagier to research assistant. Under Daniel Boulud and Thomas Keller, she was Team U.S.A.’s competition director for the Bocuse d’Or. She went on to OpenTable, Gilt Taste (earning a spot on Forbes’ “30 Under 30” list, a James Beard nomination, and an IACP award for her work), and Tumblr. 

In 2015, Pelka founded Magnum PR, drawing on her decade of experience in events, influencer marketing, content strategy, and media relations. Among her clients are Shake Shack, Mister Jiu’s, Rich Table, and Souvla—founded by her husband, Rising Stars alum Charles Bililies. 

In 2017, Pelka opened The Riddler, a female-funded Champagne bar in San Francisco’s Hayes Valley where no occasion is too small (or too casual) for glass raising. With whimsy, she pours bubbles for unconventional pairings: tater tot waffles, pigs in a blanket, complimentary popcorn from a self-serve station with a rainbow of flavors, and caviar service including Lays potato chips. The century-old space mixes high with low, and nods to the wines that inspired it—whether the guest is drinking from an elegant flute, a goblet filled to meniscus, or a Chambong. 

Pelka has been named a Details “Digital Maverick” and a Cherry Bombe “It Girl.”