Drew Nieporent, one of America's most respected and celebrated restaurateurs, is the founder and inspiration behind the Myriad Restaurant Group, which operates Tribeca Grill, Nobu New York City, Nobu Fifty Seven, Nobu London, Nobu Next Door, Bâtard and Crush Wine & Spirits. Over the last 26 years, Myriad has opened and operated over 35 restaurants around the world, including Seattle, Louisville, Providence, Boca Raton, London, Moscow, Citi Field, home of the New York Mets in Flushing, New York.
How did you get into the Culinary industry?
Quarter Pounder grill man at McDonald’s, 1972
Tell us about Myriad Restaurant Group. What inspired the idea and what is your vision for the company?
After saying no to dozens of opportunities, it was time to say yes.
What strategic partnerships/marketing strategies have you implemented that have attributed to Myriad Restaurant Group's success?
We have several strategic partnerships with sports teams, and it’s all about providing quality.
What industry trends are you noticing and how do you capitalize on them?
We create our own next thing and never worry about trends.
Keep an open mind.
Myriad Restaurant Group's Motto?
Liberty and justice for all.
Your greatest success as Proprietor of Myriad Restaurant Group?
Too many successes to single out just one.
Most difficult moment-how did you overcome and what did you learn?
It’s always hard to close a restaurant professionally.
Your advice to an aspiring restauranteur?
It’s a marathon. Pace yourself.
(Nobu New York)
Describe the ideal experience at a Myriad Restaurant.
Comfort and fair prices.
How important are architecture/design to the success of your restaurants?
One of the myriad details that create interest and texture.
How do you motivate your employees?
One food and drink left on earth, what would you choose?
Cheese and Burgundy.
What literature is on your bed stand?
“I Must Say: My Life as a Humble Comedy Legend” by Martin Short
Role model - business and personal?
Bill Graham (business),
Muhammad Ali (personal)
Will always be travel.
(Crush Wines & Spirits)
Favorite travel destination?
Jackson Hole, Wyoming
What's next for Myriad Restaurant Group?
Something very cool.
Nieporent's first restaurant, the groundbreaking Montrachet (1985), earned three stars from The New York Times and kept that rating for 21 years. In 2008, the restaurant reopened as Corton, maintaining its three New York Times stars and receiving two Michelin stars with chef-partner Paul Liebrandt at the helm. In May of 2014, Nieporent reopened the space as Bâtard with the help of chef- partner Markus Glocker and partner John Winterman. Earning three stars from The New York Times, New York Magazine, and a coveted Michelin star, the restaurant opened to critical acclaim. As 2014 came to an end, Bâtard landed at the top of several end-of-year lists, including the number one spot on The New York Times’ list of “The 10 Best New Restaurants of 2014”. Tribeca Grill (1990), with partner Robert De Niro and an all-star roster of investors including Bill Murray, Sean Penn, and Mikhail Baryshnikov, opened to national acclaim and continues to be one of New York's landmark restaurants.
In 1994, again with partner Robert De Niro and sushi master Nobu Matsuhisa, Drew launched Nobu New York City to worldwide acclaim. Nobu NYC, Next Door Nobu, and Nobu Fifty Seven have all earned the coveted three-star rating from The New York Times. Nobu NYC was voted Best Restaurant in America by The James Beard Foundation. Nobu has gone on to open restaurants in all parts of the world.
Also in 1994, Nieporent was one of the few American restaurateurs to go bi-coastal. In collaboration with Robert De Niro, Robin Williams, and Francis Ford Coppola, he opened Rubicon in San Francisco. Myriad's excellence in wine service is widely acknowledged. It is the only restaurant group to earn three coveted Grand Awards from Wine Spectator Magazine - for Rubicon, Montrachet, and Tribeca Grill. In 2005, Myriad opened Crush Wine & Spirits, which was named the best new wine shop by Food & Wine Magazine.
Nieporent graduated in 1973 from Stuyvesant High School and in 1977 from Cornell University with a degree from the School of Hotel Management. While at Cornell, he worked on the world class cruise ships Vistafjord and Sagafjord. In 1978, he began his management career with Warner Le Roy at New York City's Maxwell's Plum and Tavern On The Green. He then worked at the prestigious French restaurants Le Perigord, La Grenouille and Plaza Athenee's Le Regence.
Drew donates his time to dozens of charities. He is on the board of Madison Square Garden's Garden of Dreams Foundation, Citymeals-on-Wheels, and DIFFA, an Honorary Chair of the City Harvest Food Council and Culinary Director of the Jackson Hole Wine Auction. He has co-chaired SOS's Taste of the Nation event in New York City since 1997. He has been honored by Careers Through Culinary Arts Program (2009), American Heart Association (1999), the Tourette Syndrome Association (2000), Food Allergy Initiative (2001), American Liver Foundation (2003), Cancer Research & Treatment Fund (2005), and Kristen Ann Carr Fund (2006). Drew is in great demand as a spirited, highly effective auctioneer at charity events.