Danny Meyer, CEO of Union Square Hospitality Group and an accomplished New York City restaurateur, said that investing in neighborhoods overlooked or undiscovered by others is one of his primary strategies and inspirations.

He used caf

Danny Meyer, CEO of Union Square Hospitality Group and an accomplished New York City restaurateur, said that investing in neighborhoods overlooked or undiscovered by others is one of his primary strategies and inspirations.

He used café-sparse Battery Park City in Manhattan as an example; his group will open three eateries there in 2012: a Shake Shack, a Blue Smoke, and the newbie North End Grill. When Union Square Cafe opened in 1985 and Gramercy Tavern in 1995, whose addresses are now chic, both their neighborhoods were low-rent.

"It’s fun to use restaurants as a way to plug a battery into a beautiful flashlight to really get the (neighborhood) to brighten up," he said.

Meyer spoke about his 26-year career as a Manhattan restaurant owner during a talk with Curbed.com founder and President Lockhart Steele (former managing editor at Gawker Media) at this year’s Real Estate Connect New York City.

Meyer’s restaurant life started with Union Square Café in 1985, which he still owns, and he now runs the Shake Shack empire: a collection of 14 burger joints in the New York City area; Gramercy Tavern; the barbecue franchise Blue Smoke; and the new North End Grill.

In the beginning, said Meyer, he couldn’t imagine running more than one restaurant. "People wouldn’t take you seriously," he said.

Now, with technology like the Internet and its protégés, Twitter and Foursquare, which Meyer is an investor in, you can be a restaurateur on a whole other level.

"One of the biggest things that’s changed is that mothers and fathers no longer look at their kids as failures for going into the restaurant business," he said half-jokingly, of the difference between then, 1985, and now.

Steele asked Meyer how he maintains a balance while being connected, seemingly all day long, via Twitter and the other trappings of the modern digital, ever-connected era. Meyer said that the connection is an outgrowth of his passion for what has become his life work. "I love people. I love sharing. I love food and wine," he said.

"Twitter gives me the opportunity to be with more people than I could being in any one place," he said.

Show Comments Hide Comments

Comments

Sign up for Inman’s Morning Headlines
What you need to know to start your day with all the latest industry developments
Success!
Thank you for subscribing to Morning Headlines.
Back to top
We are less than 1 week away from Inman Connect! Get your ticket for $99 before prices go up next week.GET YOUR TICKET×
Log in
If you created your account with Google or Facebook
Don't have an account?
Forgot your password?
No Problem

Simply enter the email address you used to create your account and click "Reset Password". You will receive additional instructions via email.

Forgot your username? If so please contact customer support at (510) 658-9252

Password Reset Confirmation

Password Reset Instructions have been sent to

Subscribe to The Weekender
Get the week's leading headlines delivered straight to your inbox.
Top headlines from around the real estate industry. Breaking news as it happens.
15 stories covering tech, special reports, video and opinion.
Unique features from hacker profiles to portal watch and video interviews.
Unique features from hacker profiles to portal watch and video interviews.
It looks like you’re already a Select Member!
To subscribe to exclusive newsletters, visit your email preferences in the account settings.
Up-to-the-minute news and interviews in your inbox, ticket discounts for Inman events and more
1-Step CheckoutPay with a credit card
By continuing, you agree to Inman’s Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

You will be charged . Your subscription will automatically renew for on . For more details on our payment terms and how to cancel, click here.

Interested in a group subscription?
Finish setting up your subscription