Restaurateur Michael Stillman of Quality Branded - Biography

New York, NY

September 2019

Just because Michael Stillman’s father is Alan Stillman, founder of the Smith & Wollensky and TGI Friday’s chains, doesn’t mean he grew up wanting to go into the family business. After completing his bachelor’s degree from Brown University in modern and contemporary painting and African-American political theory.  

Combining his interests in design and problem solving, Stillman started his career working for Danny Meyer at Union Square Hospitality Group, learning the importance of talent development and people management from the guest experience guru. He then applied his learnings to The Smith & Wollensky Restaurant Group, working first in the kitchen and purchasing department and then helping to open new locations in Houston, Dallas, and Boston.

In 2006, Stillman opened Quality Meats, a Midtown steakhouse built by award-winning design firm AvroKO with a kitchen run by Chef Craig Koketsu. After closing the sale of The Smith & Wollensky Restaurant Group, Stillman became founder and president of Quality Branded (originally called Fourth Wall Restaurants), a New York-based restaurant group that owns, manages, and develops restaurant concepts. QB’s properties include Park Avenue, Quality Meats, Maloney & Porcelli, The Post House, Smith & Wollensky New York, The Hurricane Club, and Riff Raff’s. In 2018, the group opened Don Angie, a modern red sauce Italian spot that was named to Esquire’s “Best New Restaurants in America,” and whose founding chef-partners —Angie Rito and Scott Tacinelli—are 2019 New York Rising Stars.