Link Restaurant Group Names New Chief Executive Officer
Michael DiSimone Former Managing Director for RKJ Real Estate & Hotel Group and COO of Politan Row Takes the Helm as CEO
NEW ORLEANS (press release) – Link Restaurant Group has announced the recent appointment of Michael DiSimone as Chief Executive Officer. DiSimone will oversee operations of the company, while Donald Link, executive chef and founding restaurateur, will remain as president focusing on its creative and future growth, as well as overseeing the Link Stryjewski Foundation as co-founder. “Michael brings a qualified track record of organizational change management, building and scaling for growth and profitability, and operational development,” said Link. “This experience makes him ideally suited to lead our efforts and we are happy to have him on our team.”
DiSimone has nearly 25 years of senior leadership experience in hotels, restaurants, food halls, catering, private events, and concessions. He worked most recently as managing director of food and beverage concepts with RKJ Real Estate and Hotel Group based in Los Angeles and chief operating officer for Politan Row, a celebrated food hall group in New Orleans. “I am excited to be back in New Orleans and to be a part of the Link Restaurant Group,” said DiSimone. “I look forward to helping guide the future of the organization as we work through these unprecedented times.” During his career he has worked throughout the Midwest including downtown Chicago, the Washington D.C. area, airports across the United States and Canada, as well as New Orleans. Other highlights of his career include serving as vice president of business development and catering for City Barbeque, corporate director of the restaurant portfolio for HMSHost airport concessions in the United States and Canada, and director of global food and beverage development for Marriott International global headquarters.
Link Restaurant Group includes Herbsaint Restaurant and Bar; Cochon Restaurant; Cochon Butcher; Calcasieu, a private dining facility in New Orleans; Pêche, named Best New Restaurant in America by the James Beard Foundation; La Boulangerie a neighborhood bakery and café; and Gianna with chef/partner Rebecca Wilcomb nominated for Best New Restaurant in America by the James Beard Foundation. Link’s flagship restaurant Herbsaint earned Donald Link a James Beard award in 2007 for Best Chef South and Chef de Cuisine Rebecca Wilcomb the same award in 2017. Cochon was nominated in 2007 for Best New Restaurant in America by the James Beard Foundation; and was listed in The New York Times as “one of the top 3 restaurants that count.” Stephen Stryjewski, LRG chef/partner was named Best Chef South at the 2011 James Beard Foundation Awards, and Ryan Prewitt, chef/partner of Pêche was named Best Chef South at the 2014 James Beard Foundation Awards. The James Beard Foundation also honored Link’s first cookbook– Real Cajun: Rustic Home Cooking from Donald Link’s Louisiana (Clarkson Potter) with their top award for Best American Cookbook. In 2014, Chef Link published his second cookbook, Down South: Bourbon, Pork, Gulf Shrimp & Second Helpings of Everything (Clarkson Potter). In 2015, Chefs Link and Stryjewski created the Link Stryjewski Foundation to address the persistent cycle of violence and poverty, as well as the lack of quality education and job training opportunities available to young people in New Orleans.