Danny Meyer New Chair of NYC Economic Development Corporation 


Famed restaurateur Danny Meyer has been tapped by Mayor Bill de Blasio to become the chairman of the New York City Economic Development Corporation, de Blasio announced Tuesday.

Meyer, CEO of the restaurant company Union Square Hospitality Group, will lead the EDC’s 27-member board when sworn in on Wednesday and help steer the agency’s agenda of spurring economic development in the city.

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“Building a lasting economic recovery means caring about workers and reaching every corner of every borough. It takes strong leadership to get there — and Danny Meyer has the experience, vision, and creativity we need to drive our recovery forward,” de Blasio said in a statement. “Danny is the perfect choice to lead EDC’s board of directors in a year unlike any other, and I look forward to working with him to build back a stronger, fairer, cleaner, greener, and safer New York City.”

Meyer founded Union Square Hospitality when he opened his first eatery, the Union Square Cafe, in 1985. He has since launched the burger-chain Shake Shack, along with fine dining establishments the Gramercy Tavern and The Modern.

The coronavirus pandemic dealt the city’s restaurant industry a massive blow, forcing many to switch to delivery or takeout-only models — and Meyer’s group was no exception.

Union Square Hospitality laid off 2,000 employees last year as the pandemic forced officials to shutter eateries, and then severely limit customer capacity after allowing them to reopen. Meyer reclosed his restaurants for indoor and outdoor dining in November, even before the state mandated it, as the number of coronavirus cases spiked again in the city.

Meyer is also working on launching an incubator in the Industry City complex in Brooklyn to coach and offer space for chefs to grow their businesses, Crain’s New York Business reported.

Aside from his restaurant work, Meyer also served on the boards of the city’s tourism group NYC & Co., the Madison Square Park Conservancy and the Union Square Partnership.

“I am honored to be given the opportunity to support the economic regrowth of New York City,” Meyer said in a statement. “For too long, New Yorkers have not been able to gather together to hear the clinking of glasses in restaurants or see the lights on Broadway. We’re ready to safely re-engage the culture, travel, and hospitality industries — and the people who make them so special — and get back to the business and heart of what makes our city beloved by all.”