Robert has over 20 years of experience creating, building and operating next level restaurant concepts. Throughout his career, he has maintained a focus on restaurants rooted in casual fine dining with a strong emphasis on design, food, beverage, and enlightened service. Today, he proudly plots the course for a restaurant brand that celebrates so many of the core things he loves about dining out.
Since graduating from the Cornell University School of Hotel Administration in 1996, Robert has been fully immersed in the New York City restaurant scene. After starting with Restaurant Associates at Rockefeller Center, Robert went to work for famed restaurateur Dr. Joe Santo at ground breaking East Side hot spots Arizona 206 and Bolivar. It was here that he first got to work with his future partner, celebrated chef Andy D’Amico.
In 2001 he joined Simon Oren to open the French Mediterranean Brasserie Marseille in Hell’s Kitchen. Marseille quickly earned a “2 Star” review in The New York Times, and continues to thrive to this day. In the years that followed, Chef Andy would join the team and together with Oren they would open the Upper West Side’s Nice Matin in 2003 and Hell’s Kitchen’s Nizza in 2007.
The trio’s next creation, 5 Napkin Burger, burst onto the scene in 2008. With 5 Napkin, the partners created a new dining phenomenon by using the burger as the starting point for their brand while surrounding it with all the trappings of a true American brasserie. In the 2013 edition of Zagat, 5 Napkin was voted as the 12th most popular restaurant in NYC, and in 2013 Nation’s Restaurant News featured 5 Napkin in its top 50 Break Out Brands Issue.
In addition to 5 Napkin Burger, Robert is the Managing Partner of New York City brands Playa Betty’s and Schmackarys.
You can reach him on Instagram: @restaurantlifer