Coming back home to New York City from attending university in North Carolina, Jimmy Goldman saw an opportunity creating a home away from home for North Carolinians who felt like catfish out of water in the Big Apple. Goldman opened Brother Jimmy’s BBQ in 1989 to offer pulled pork sandwiches, drinks and real Southern hospitality in the heart of Manhattan. Now with five locations in Manhattan, one in New Brunswick, N.J., and franchises in Puerto Rico and Miami, Brother Jimmy’s BBQ is designed to bring North Carolina north and south.

“We are a dining, entertainment and nightlife destination,” President and CEO Josh Lebowitz emphasizes. “It’s a lively, fun place that people go after work to mingle and eat. All the food at each location is 100 percent made in-house. It’s a combination of all the pieces we’ve put together, from the music, the ambiance, the Southern hospitality and the warmth. We train our staff to welcome people in with open arms and traditional Southern hospitality.”

Three years ago, ASK Italian reached a crossroads. Although it had been one of the United Kingdom’s most established upper-casual dining concepts since its founding in 1993, the restaurant faced external challenges that made it reconsider the way it operated.

“We were a mature business that was facing challenges not just from the recession, but from new competition coming around,” Managing Director Steve Holmes says. “Casual dining in the UK has exploded, there were a lot of new concepts and customers who were far more discerning and educated about food quality than ever before, and I think we lost pace with that. There was nothing wrong with what we were doing, but there was also no real reason for people to come to us over the competition.”

Rosa Mexicano opened its first restaurant in New York City in 1984. Since then, the restaurant and the Mexican cuisine segment have come a long way. Mexican food has become the most popular ethnic dining category in the United States, and Rosa Mexicano has grown into a highly successful chain of fine-dining Mexican restaurants on the East Coast and beyond. However, while many restaurants within the Mexican category have altered the cuisine to fit a more Americanized profile, Rosa Mexicano has remained true to the culture and cuisine that inspired it. CEO Tom Dillon says this has been the key to the company’s 30 years of success and the foundation of its success for the future. 

“It’s always rooted in that deep respect for Mexican cuisine,” Dillon says. 

The first Rosa Mexicano restaurant was opened by chef Josefina Howard in Midtown Manhattan, where the combination of authentic Mexican food and a modern interior design bursting with vibrant colors created a popular destination for New Yorkers. Today, the company has more than 15 locations in the United States as well as international restaurants in Dubai and Panama. 

Boasting a strong portfolio of Wendy’s restaurants that places it among the leading Wendy’s franchise operators, Carlisle Corp. has gone to great lengths to become a world-class organization with a passion for excellence. Founded in 1982, the company believes it can push the envelope as a leading franchise operator and real estate developer.

“We focus on investing heavily in people and facilities rather than micromanaging daily operations,” President and CEO Chance Carlisle says. “We have the right people in place that can get the job done.”

The origin of The Pickle Barrel name may remain a mystery, but the restaurant, catering and banquet company is well-known throughout the Toronto area. The Toronto, Ontario- based company, with headquarters in Markham, renovated two of its restaurants to capture a broader audience and looks to expand throughout the country.  

A group of developers opened the first Pickle Barrel in 1971 as an 80-seat, deli-style restaurant because they needed to add a restaurant into their newly built strip mall. Between 1985 and 1990, Pickle Barrel opened a number of shopping center kiosks and today operates 11 full-service restaurants throughout Toronto. All restaurants combined serve millions of people per year. “From a dollar standpoint, we offer great value,” President Peter Higley says. “Also from the guests’ perspective, we are friendly, offer fast service and people love the fact that there are so many menu choices.”

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