Q&A: John Meadow of LDV Hospitality On Making It In New York, Part 2


John Meadow is co-founder of LDV Hospitality, the restaurant group behind Scarpetta, Lugo Caffe, Lucy’s Cantina Royal, and various projects across Las Vegas, Atlantic City, and Miami.

Yesterday we got his tips on first getting into the restaurant scene. Today, we talked to Meadow about the difference between the New York market and other restaurant scenes.

You have properties in Miami, Vegas, Atlantic City in New York. What’s the difference between making it in New York compared to the other cities?
We’re obviously biased. We’re New Yorkers. We’re based here. New York is the most exciting, dynamic marketplace and what makes it the most challenging is that it’s by far the most competitive. We’re doing more and more in Miami and it’s exciting and fun. We’re going to continue to travel and open various locations around the country. But New York is home and always will be. The competition is very tough and it only gets tougher.

Speaking of competition, there’s a lot of that in terms of restaurant groups. How do you separate yourselves?
We have a philosophy about hospitality, work ethic, and discipline. At the end of the day, it’s not rocket science. It’s all about the human business and the character of everyone from your partner to your chef to the general manager to the bus boy. Any restaurant that we do, we’re not trying to reinvent the wheel or change anything. We’re trying to put forth a heartfelt effort and put together a team of people who believe in our business and culture.

Favorite restaurants in New York?
Esca. It’s one of my favorites meals in New York. Consider dining at the bar at Esca. I do love Gramercy Tavern. I love a lot of the classics.

And you’ve worked with a lot of chefs throughout the years. Any standouts or anyone you admire?
On a chef level, Daniel Boulud. He’s not just a talented chef, he’s an extraordinary business man. He’s really been able to diversify his brand. Also Tony May, who has very much transformed Italian cuisine in the United States.

Future plans?
We’re opening in a few weeks in Miami. In terms of New York, we’ve created a wholesale coffee business and we’re selling that in all of our restaurants. And we’re looking to the first quarter of next year to launch an Italian coffee bar.