History

Over the past 27 years, we have created and operated several fine dining restaurants, a number of urban barbecue joints, a feel-good jazz club, a road-side hotdog stand that became one of New York’s favorite burger restaurants, a roman trattoria, four modern museum restaurants and cafes, an off-premise, restaurant-quality catering company, and even a learning and training company. We love new ideas and the thrill of a new challenge. But some things stay the same: we bring our commitment to consistent excellence and warm hospitality to every endeavor, plus the energy of a motivated and supported team.


1980s – THE BEGINNING

 
OCTOBER 1985
At age 27, Danny Meyer launches Union Square Cafe, pioneering a new breed of American eatery pairing imaginative food and wine with caring hospitality, comfortable surroundings, and outstanding value.


1990s – PROVING IT WAS NO FLUKE

 
JULY 1994
Danny opens Gramercy Tavern, offering refined American cuisine and warm hospitality in a historic landmark building.
 
September 1994
Union Square Cafe releases their first cookbook The Union Square Cafe Cookbook: 160 Favorite Recipes from New York’s Acclaimed Restaurant.
 
OCTOBER–NOVEMBER 1998
Danny welcomes guests to two more restaurants, Eleven Madison Park and Tabla, each situated in a stunning art deco building that overlooks Madison Square Park. With the opening of these restaurants, Danny also officially forms Union Square Hospitality Group.


2000s – GROWTH

 
OCTOBER 2001
Union Square Cafe releases their Second Helpings Cookbook: 140 New Recipes from New York’s Acclaimed Restaurant.
 
MARCH 2002
Union Square Hospitality Group opens Blue Smoke and Jazz Standard, offering mouthwatering real pit barbecue and world-class live jazz, served with warm hospitality in a fun and relaxed atmosphere.
 
JUNE 2002
The first ever Big Apple Barbecue Block Party takes place on 27th Street on a rainy Spring day. Despite the weather, thousands of barbecue enthusiasts show up, beginning a beloved New York City tradition.
 
JULY 2004
USHG launches Shake Shack, a food kiosk in Madison Square Park, serving Chicago-style hot dogs, burgers, frozen custard, and more.
 
JANUARY 2005
Selected by the Museum of Modern Art to create and operate the dining facilities at the newly renovated museum, USHG opens three restaurants, including a fine dining restaurant, The Modern, two cafes, Cafe 2 and Terrace 5, catering, and the food service for MoMA’s staff.
 
DECEMBER 2005
USHG launches a fine dining, full-service catering and sports and entertainment business, Union Square Events (initially known as Hudson Yards Catering.)
 
OCTOBER 2006
Danny Meyer’s book Setting The Table: The Transforming Power of Hospitality in Business comes out.
 
OCTOBER 2006
Chef Floyd Cardoz releases One Spice, Two Spice: American Food, Indian Flavors Cookbook.
 
APRIL 2009
Shake Shack, Blue Smoke, Box Frites, and El Verano Taquería open at Citi Field, home of the New York Mets
 
MAY 2009
Union Square Events opens Public Fare, a seasonal, open-air cafe located at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park, home to The Public Theater’s Shakespeare in the Park.
 
Mix Shake Stir Cookbook: Recipes from Danny Meyer’s Acclaimed New York City Restaurants comes out.
 
NOVEMBER 2009
USHG opens Maialino, a Roman-style trattoria in the Gramercy Park Hotel.
 


2010s – MOMENTUM

 
FEBRUARY 2010
USHG launches Hospitality Quotient, a learning business focused on helping individuals and companies to understand and apply the power of hospitality in their businesses.
 
JUNE 2010
Shake Shack opens their first location outside of NYC in Miami Beach, Florida.
 
Shake Shack opens at Saratoga Race Course in Saratoga Springs, New York
 
DECEMBER 2010
After 12 fulfilling years, Tabla closes its doors and serves its last meal at the Madison Square Park address.
 
MARCH 2011
USHG opens Untitled at the Whitney Museum of American Art. Untitled is a contemporary, farm-to-table take on the classic Manhattan coffee shop.
 
APRIL 2011
Shake Shack opens its first international location in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
 
JUNE 2011
Shake Shack, Blue Smoke, Box Frites, and El Verano Taquería opens at Nationals Park, home of the Washington Nationals, in Washington, DC.
 
NOVEMBER 2011
In a bold move, after Eleven Madison Park received four stars from The New York Times, a Grand Award from Wine Spectator, and three stars from Michelin in 2011, USHG sells the restaurant to Executive Chef Daniel Humm and General Manager Will Guidara.
 
Box Frites and El Verano Taquería open at Saratoga Race Course in Saratoga Springs, New York.
 
Creative Juice USHG and Equinox introduce Creative Juice, a healthy cafe concept that offers flavorful, nutritious, and convenient eating and drinking choices. The cafe’s menu features a chef-inspired selection of delicious and functional premium cold-pressed juices combined with nutritious, on-the-go culinary offerings.
 
APRIL 2013
Family Table Cookbook: Favorite Staff Meals from our Restaurants to Your Home comes out.
 
OCTOBER 2013
The Gramercy Tavern Cookbook comes out.
 
APRIL 2014
USHG partners with The Institute of Culinary Education and offers their first ever 10 week public wine class led by Wine Director and Master Sommelier John Ragan.
 
AUGUST 2014
Maialino Executive Chef and Partner Nick Anderer and Maialino Managing Partner Terry Coughlin open Marta in the Marta Washington hotel.