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Jeremy Wladis ('86)

Owner & President
The Restaurant Group

Lectured April 16, 2015

Jeremy Wladis (’86) has a passion for food and fun. His taste for the foodservice industry started as a young boy, when he worked in his father’s grocery store in upstate New York. Now, as the owner and president of The Restaurant Group, Wladis oversees seven successful restaurant concepts in New York City, Washington, D. C., and North Carolina.

After graduating from the Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management in 1986, Wladis returned to his home state, where he began his career working as a restaurant director at New York City’s famed Tavern on the Green, the largest full-service restaurant in the country at the time.

In 1988, he was recruited by the Trumps to be the restaurant director at the iconic Plaza Hotel, where he learned more about upscale dining. Then, after a stint as director of operations for the Caramba’s chain of Mexican eateries based in NYC, Wladis went out on his own.

His first venture was Firehouse, a small neighborhood tavern that still stands today after 25 years. He then opened Avenue—originally called Nonna—which was dubbed one of the best restaurants in New York City by The Food Network and featured in Bon Appetit, Food and Wine, Gourmet and The New York Times, to name a few.

In 1998, Wladis hit on a winning formula for a more casual, quick-service operation with Fuel Pizza, which he opened in Charlotte, N.C., to bring New York-style pizza to the South.

From there, The Restaurant Group was born. Wladis and his team then developed and opened the Custom Fuel Pizza concept, which allows guests to choose their dough, sauce, cheese and toppings. These individually customized pizzas are cooked and served in just over two minutes. Today, there are Custom Fuel Pizza restaurants located in Harlem and Washington, D.C.

The Restaurant Group also currently owns Amigos, Firehouse Tavern, A.G. Kitchen and Good Enough to Eat, four very popular restaurants on the Upper West Side in New York City, and Brad’s Brew (named after his father) on Broadway.

Through his versatile restaurant work history and experience, Wladis is a proven leader capable of creating and implementing new concepts in a highly challenging and competitive industry. He’s a hands-on owner, intimately involved in most aspects of operations in his 20 restaurants, from staffing and training, to menus and food quality. His investors include Syracuse Coach Jim Boeheim and former New York Knicks players John Starks and the late Anthony Mason. Other investors include Chris Cuomo and John Stossel.

Wladis resides in NYC with his wife and two daughters. He often travels between his restaurants on an orange Razor scooter. A lifelong Syracuse basketball fan, Wladis sat on the Syracuse bench as a ball boy years ago. He is also on the board of the Young People’s Chorus of NYC and is active in helping public schools in NYC, D.C. and Charlotte.