Briefly describe your background in the hotel/restaurant industry.
After graduating from the Cornell Hotel School in 2002, I worked at the Oak Room / Bar at the Plaza Hotel for two years. I realized that my true passion was in independent restaurants, so at the age of 24 I opened my first venue, a bar by Madison Square Garden, and from there created LDV hospitality, where ironically we have ended up operating great independent restaurants in six hotels across the country.
You've experienced great success with your venues in New York, such as American Cut, No. 8 and Scarpetta – why did you choose Miami as a destination to open Dolce, Regent Cocktail Club and Rec Room?
Miami is a second home to New York for us. It is a dynamic international city and we intend to grow more in Miami than any other market.
Why this particular location?
The Gale’s location at 17th and Collins represents the epicenter of Miami Beach, it is in the middle of all of the iconic hotels, yet located on the other side of Collins, with a James Avenue entrance in the local mix right across from Casa Tua. The location truly captures both sides of the beach: the grandeur of an international travel destination and charming, funky beach town; only but a few properties achieve both.
What's new with your Miami venues after a year?
The Regent’s national critical acclaim has been such an excitement that it really makes the whole property shine, so much so we have decided to open a second location of the Regent in Soho later this year. Another pleasant surprise is that Dolce’s cuisine has been so well received that we have decided to elevate both our dining and wine offerings to accommodate our local guests’ request for a truly exceptional experience. The Rec Room came into its own the day that it opened; it knows exactly what it is and that party just does not stop!
Has the response from the locals matched your expectations?
The locals’ response has exceeded our expectations. Seeing the enthusiastic locals come back time and time again has been our greatest joy across all three venues at the Gale.
Tell us about your latest venue – American Cut in Tribeca.
American Cut in Tribeca was our 24th opening and by far the most important. It is our most ambitious restaurant, bringing the original fine dining American concept, the steakhouse, to modern life. It represents the flagship of both the American Cut brand and LDV Hospitality as a whole and a beautiful partnership with chef Marc Forgione.
What are your thoughts about the SOBEWFF and its evolution over the past decade?
I believe the SOBEWFF personifies the extraordinary evolution of Miami as a whole: the passion for food and beverage experiences across the best chefs in the country, the loyal fans, and of course the dedicated locals is palpable. This went from a fun festival, to the single biggest party of the year in the culinary world, it's spectacular!
What's next for LDV in Miami?
We are excited to grow in Miami, downtown is booming and we look forward to bringing our passions to become a part of it.