Some kids born into the family business make a swift exit into another career. Not so for these restaurant progeny. But instead of sticking to what Dad created, each is developing their own concept targeted at a younger crowd. They are expanding on the knowledge imprinted in their DNA—and passed down by their parents—with fresh ideas and insights.
Gina Stefani, age 31
Famous parent: Phil Stefani (Phil Stefani Signature Restaurants)
What she’s doing: Managing Partner, Mad Social, Chicago
Lessons learned: Be very hands on. “My dad taught me to be the face of the restaurant. I’m at Mad Social every night, so I get to know the locals.”
Her own stamp: Gina is targeting her millennial peer group with shared plates in a casual bar-centric space. But she isn’t skimping on service. “My staff is instructed to thank every person who walks in,” she says—another tip from Dad.
Sam Weinstein, age 21 and Luke Pascal, age 24
Famous parents: Michael Weinstein and Vincent Pascal (Ark Restaurant Group)
What they’re doing: Opening Chuck & Blade and Buns Bar in New York City this month
Lessons learned: “No matter how angry a customer is, do something to change the course of his day,” says Luke.
Their own stamp: Chuck & Blade is going for the chuck customer, not the filet mignon customer, say the kids. Buns Bar is after the Instagram crowd. A guest’s first action should be to snap a photo, says Sam.
Oliver Zabar, age 24
Famous parent: Eli Zabar (Eli’s Table and Eli’s Essentials)
What he’s doing: Eli’s Night Shift (bar and cafe), New York City
Lessons learned: “My dad taught me to pay attention to every detail. I won’t open unless the bar is flawless,” says Oliver.
His own stamp: While Eli’s is known for its wines and upscale prices, Night Shift specializes in local craft beers and signature cocktails. “I’m giving it a young spin with an approachable menu [of bar bites], a changing roster of drinks and a rock ’n roll soundtrack,” says Oliver.