This year’s opening keynote speaker will be Gabriel Stulman, who is one of New York’s most successful and influential restaurateurs.
Gabriel was named a “40 Under 40” in 2011 by Crain’s New York Business and “Restaurateur of the Year” by Esquire magazine in 2012.
The 34-year-old Virginia native is the CEO and founder of Happy Cooking Hospitality, a group of trendy New York City restaurants that includes Joseph Leonard, Jeffrey’s Grocery, Fedora, Perla and Bar Sardine. By design, all five of these neighborhood restaurants are located within a few blocks of each other in the heart of Manhattan’s West Village. Gabriel runs Happy Cooking, which he calls his family of restaurants, with his wife and business partner, Gina.
His local, entrepreneurial approach and closeness to the current dining trends will inspire you as you seek to better your own business during Pizza Expo. Throughout his early years, his parents filled the house with family and friends for large meals and celebrations on a weekly basis, which is where his love for entertaining and food began. Although he made Philly cheesesteaks for Steak N’ Things in high school, his foray into the restaurant industry didn’t begin until he needed to find a way to pay for his college tuition.
While in Madison at the University of Wisconsin, he developed a passion for the hospitality industry and food as he worked almost every position in a popular local husband-and-wife-run Café Montmartre. This was a life-altering experience and it inspired him to do this for a living. During these years, he forged lifelong friendships with others in the restaurant community. Many of these friends would later join him in New York City, where he moved after graduating in 2003 with majors in history and political science.
After holding various roles at several celebrated NYC restaurants, Gabriel and Gina opened their first restaurant, Joseph Leonard, in 2009. Named after his two grandfathers, Joseph Leonard was an instant hit, beloved for its warm, welcoming atmosphere and its approachable menu. In 2010, he debuted Jeffrey’s Grocery across the street, a seafood restaurant and oyster bar named after his father. Later that year, Gabriel and his team opened their third restaurant, Fedora, a modern speakeasy. In March of 2012, Perla joined the growing family. This Italian restaurant was named after Gabriel’s grandmother and is now called Perla Café. Later that same year, he opened Chez Sarine, initially an izakaya, since transformed into a gastropub called Bar Sardine.
I think you’ll find Gabriel’s story fascinating — and with his ties to Italian cuisine and the restaurant industry — an inspiring opening act on the busy first exhibit hall day at Pizza Expo.
Group Show Director
November 16, 2017 | Videos
Pizza Today Editor-in-Chief Jeremy White breaks down what you need to do to become the 2018 Young Entrepreneur of the Year. Don’t delay. Submissions are due by December 15. More details at 2018 Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award. Read More ›
November 15, 2017 | Press Releases
Fast-Casual Build-Your-Own Pizza Restaurant Offers Locally Inspired Components at each Restaurant ANAHEIM, Calif. —The Pizza Press, a leading fast-casual, build-your-own pizza restaurant, has its eyes set on national expansion with 30 restaurants slated to open by early 2018. As the franchise continues its development efforts, it has put an extreme focus on maintaining local relevance… Read More ›
MAFIAoZAs 12 South Pizzeria and Neighborhood Pub To Be Featured on The Cooking Channel’s LATE NIGHT EATS Nashville
NASHVILLE, TN—November 14, 2017-MAFIAoZAs 12South Pizzeria and Neighborhood Pub is excited to announce that the restaurant will be featured on The Cooking Channel’s LATE NIGHT EATS, Nashville. This Fall, the Cooking Channel and Chef Jordan Andino take a multi-city road trip to find the best dishes available after-dark in the new thirteen-episode series, LATE NIGHT EATS…. Read More ›