Daniel “Danny” Meyer was born in 1958 and raised in St. Louis, Missouri. He is a New York City restaurateur. He spent most of his childhood traveling through Europe with his father’s tour company. He attended John Burroughs School, and later graduated from Trinity College with a degree in Political Science in Hartford, Connecticut in 1980. He currently lives in New York City with his wife and four children.
In 1985 Meyer opened Union Square Café, his first. He created a place where American food would be combined with wine and with caring hospitality, comfortable surroundings and great value. The New York Times twice has given the café a three star rating. It also was rated the most popular restaurant in New York City for nine years without ever having the same reason as the previous year.
Gramercy Tavern was open in July 1994. Meyer gave the people a different style of American cuisine in a historic building. The New York Times has also given it three stars twice. It was also voted most popular in New York City in 2003, 2005, 2005, and in 2007.
Meyer opened Eleven Madison Park and Tabla in 1998. Each of these restaurants built in an art deco building. They also over looked the 150-year-old Madison Square Park and the Flatiron Building. During this time Meyer also formed Union Square Hospitality Group. Tabla serves New Indian Cuisine. Tabla also has been named Top Indian Restaurant in New York City in the Zagat Survey, Citysearch, and Time Out New York.
Union Square Hospitality Group opened Blue Smoke and Jazz Standard. These restaurants have real pit barbecue and world-class live jazz. They were named Best Barbecue and Best Jazz Club in 2003 by citysearch.com
Shake Shack was opened in 2004 by the Union Square Hospitality Group. It was based on Meyer’s childhood interests. They are located in Madison Square Park, and added to the renaissance of the park. They serve Chicago style hotdogs, burgers, frozen custard, wine and beer. In October 2008 the USHG opened another location on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. It is the first time in the history of USHG that it has expanded one of its locations.
The Museum of Modern Art honored the USHG by allowing them to take care and operate all the dining facilities in the museum. MoMA has a fine dining restaurant, The Modern, two cafes: Café 2 and Terrace 5, and catering. They also have food service separately for the MoMa’s staff.
The Hudson Yards was opened in 2005. It created a fine dining, full service catering, and sports and entertainment business. Hudson Yards offers many different types of on and off premises events. They can range from small, elegant dinner parties to corporate parties that serve fifteen hundred people. It can also be for a barbecue wedding reception to a publishing company’s event. Hudson Yards off premises events can be for sports, such as the Mets Citi Field Stadium to large entertainment venues.
Meyer is an active public speaker and educator. He is also an active national leader in the fight against hunger. His restaurants nineteen James Beard Awards. Some that includes Outstanding Restaurant of the Year, Best Chef, Best New Restaurant, and more. Meyer also co-authored the Union Square Café Cookbook. He also wrote Second Helpings from Union Square Café and Setting the Table.