When he was in his early teens Eric would take the subway from his Mom’s house in Brooklyn into lower Manhattan to visit his Dad who lived on the western edge of SOHO. He was allowed to go to two places without supervision – his Uncle’s restaurant which was right downstairs or La Gamelle, a nearby French Bistro owned by friends of his Dad. At La Gamelle he would sit at the bar, eating steak frites, drinking Pepsi with a splash of red wine and making small talk with the bartenders and regulars at the age of 13. It was on those nights that he realized how much he loved being in restaurants and that it was the restaurant world in which he would make his mark.
In 1991 Eric moved to San Francisco, and it was there that he developed his signature, laid back approach to service. Eric became the general manager of Piemonte Ovest at the age of 24, and was given total control to run the restaurant as he saw fit. The result was a wildly successful restaurant with professional yet approachable service.
Looking for another change of pace, Eric hopped in his car and drove cross-country and a week later ended up in the Hamptons. He walked into the newly-opened Dellafimina looking for a waiter position and walked away the new general manager. For the next two years, he ran the front and the back of the house in the hottest restaurant in the Hamptons, becoming friends with weekenders and locals alike. The job he didn’t even want made him the gatekeeper for one of the toughest tables in the Hamptons, and became the stepping stone for his next position as general manager of F.illi Ponte in Tribeca.
F.illi Ponte marked Eric’s return to the New York City dining scene, and for two and a half years he developed relationships and friendships with regulars while running one of Manhattan’s top Italian restaurants. Following F.illi Ponte Eric split his time between The Hamptons and Manhattan, opening Pacific East in Amagansett and Chelsea, as well as the original Market in the Meatpacking District. He opened Lunch on Hudson Street in 2000 and successfully ran it until selling it in 2001 so he and childhood friend Jason Weiner could open Almond in Bridgehampton NY.
With the 2008 opening of Almond in Manhattan, this peripatetic restaurateur is back on the road, travelling between New York City and Bridgehampton, bringing his “groovy” style of service along with him.