For the first time in history, New York City’s hospitality industry, made up of restaurants, nightlife establishments, destination hotels, and industry suppliers, has joined forces to create a formal alliance that will advocate on behalf of its members at all levels of government.
Called the New York City Hospitality Alliance, the group will comprise small businesses as well as some of the biggest names in the respective industries from all five boroughs. In addition to government advocacy, The Alliance will serve as a one-stop resource for its members, offering education and training, access to top industry consultants, and opportunities to collaborate and exchange ideas.
The Alliance is led by Executive Director Andrew Rigie, former executive vice president of the New York State Restaurant Association’s New York City chapter. Rob Bookman, a 30-year veteran of City politics who was the co-founder and counsel for the New York Nightlife Association (NYNA) and former NYC legislative counsel for the NYS Restaurant Association, will serve as counsel for The Alliance. The New York Nightlife Association has formally joined The Alliance.
An abbreviated list of initial members of The New York City Hospitality Alliance includes:
- B.R. Guest Hospitality, Stephen Hanson
Includes Blue Water Grill, Dos Caminos, Isabella’s
- Dallas BBQ and Tony’s DiNapoli, Herb Wetanson
- Hampshire Hotels
Includes Dream New York, Night, Stay, Time, Chatwal
- The Alicart Restaurant Group, Jeffrey Bank
Includes Carmine’s, Virgil’s
- BLT Restaurants, Jimmy Haber
Includes Casa Nonna, Go Burger
- EMM Group, Mark Birnbaum and Eugene Remm
Includes Abe & Arthur’s, Tenjune, Catch
- NYC Best Bars, Mitch Banchick
Includes Jake’s Dilemma, Gin Mill, Down the Hatch
- Chef Driven Group, Tour De France and Five Napkin Burger, Simon Oren
Includes Nice Matin, French Roast, Marseille
- Pax Ventures, Alexander Xenopoulos
- Café Metro, Steve and George Tenedios
- Empire Merchants, E. Lloyd Sobel
- Derossi Global, Ravi Derossi
Includes The Bourgeois Pig, Death & Co.
- Helios Hospitality, Paul Seres, President, New York Nightlife Association
Includes The DL
- Anheuser Busch-Inbev
- Rosa Mexicano, Doug Griebel, Past President, NYC Chapter of NY State Restaurant Association
- Myriad Restaurant Group
- Super Linda, Smith and Mills, Matt Abramcyk
- Sugar Bun Bake Shop, Andrea Kay
- David Rabin, Former President, New York Nightlife Association; Founder, Meatpacking District Improvement Association
- Diner, Marlow & Sons, Roman’s, Reynards, Andrew Tarlow
“This organization will ensure New York City strengthens its status as a vibrant, global center of hospitality with the best restaurants, hotels, bars, and clubs anywhere on earth,” Rigie says. “The New York City Hospitality Alliance has already enlisted a who’s who of the restaurant, nightlife and hotel worlds, and we will continue to grow and expand in the coming months.”
“The hospitality industry is a major economic engine in New York City and needs a strong and united voice in the halls of government and beyond,” says Robert Bookman. “The ongoing success of this industry is sustainable only with the support of a strong advocate like The Alliance.”
As part of its initial policy agenda, The Alliance will pursue the following:
- The creation of an Office of Hospitality Affairs in the City of New York, which will serve as a dedicated ombudsman for the industry
- A more responsive and flexible Health Department within the City of New York
- A collaborative relationship between the government and hospitality industry that ensures public safety while reducing financial penalties and regulatory burdens
- Additional government education and an approach that emphasizes correction and improvement over penalties
“New York City is built, in part, on the diversity and quality of its restaurants, from small, family-owned cafes to four star restaurants,” says Jimmy Haber, managing partner of BLT Restaurants. “Even though I have a number of prominent restaurants in Manhattan, I see the urgent need for a five-borough association that will offer the mom-and-pops a voice in this industry. The Alliance will be that voice for all of us.”
“The New York Nightlife Association is thrilled to announce that we are merging into this unprecedented citywide Alliance,” says NYNA president Paul Seres. “Our 150 members will be proud to be part of an industry that speaks with one voice for us all.”
"Empire Merchants is pleased to be a founding member of this exciting new organization,” says E. Lloyd Sobel, president and CEO of the largest NYC-based spirits and wine distributor. “The hospitality sector is critical to the economic well being of our City, and it is past time that suppliers and our accounts are all are united under one organization to support and promote our industry."
The Alliance’s full-time professional staff, headed by Rigie, will work closely with an all-star team of world-class industry professionals, including Bookman and his law firm Pesetsky and Bookman, widely recognized liquor law experts; Carolyn Richmond, Esq., a labor employment attorney from Fox Rothschild LLP, a national law firm representing the hospitality industry; Myles Share, from Myles Share & Associates, a premier insurance brokerage for the hospitality industry; and The Marino Organization, a top New York City public relations firm that will lead strategic communications efforts.
Throughout the summer months, The Alliance will continue its development, before holding a formal launch event in September.