I was drawn to brand creation from an early age. My family has always owned restaurants. They owned steakhouses when I decided to open a concept, but that didn’t really speak to me—I wanted a place where my friends and I could hang out. I decided to try it out when I was 25, so then if I hated being in restaurants by the time I was 30, I could get out and start over.
My first project was a Mexican restaurant. I had no resources and no experience; I was painting the bathroom and hanging string lights. It was very hands-on, and it taught me a lot in a short period of time.
When the idea for a plant-based restaurant came about, I knew it was an opportunity for me to impact so many more people. The vegan brands that existed five years ago when we started were only speaking to one customer: the person who was already vegan. We wanted to attract people who aren’t 100 percent vegan and who might be scared by the word. Plant-based wasn’t what it is today then, and it’s been exciting to watch our brand evolve with the movement as people become more open-minded to plant-based food.
For me, it was always about trying to focus on the big picture while keeping track of the smaller details. I push my team to iterate on our current brand so that we evolve at the same time our customers are evolving. This way, we can keep current and have relevant, intimate relationships with our customers.
Our next phase is going to be growth, growth, growth. We’re ramping up, especially in the next year, for opening a lot of locations quickly. We want to continue to be movers in the space while allowing a range of people to experience our foods and messaging.
If I’m in a car—especially in New York where we have lots of locations—and I drive by one of our locations, it still takes my breath away. It’s so crazy that we’ve been able to not only create a brand, but create a real space where real people go in their daily lives and make memories with friends.
What was your first job?
My first job was with Platinum Rye Entertainment. It really showed me that I wanted to work in a place where I had the final say, especially creatively.
What’s your favorite menu item at by CHLOE?
Right now, I’m very into our avocado toast. We change the toppings seasonally.
One of my favorites is roasted fennel and lemon, which adds the perfect freshness on top of the avocado and the crunchy, seven-grain toast.
What’s your favorite cuisine outside of by CHLOE?
My go-tos are pizzas and pastas—dishes that are really comforting, especially in the colder months.
Who inspires you as a leader?
Sara Blakeley, who started Spanx. I think she has a really positive attitude and that’s something that I try to instill in myself.
What’s the best piece of advice restaurant founders should hear? As you grow, don’t lose sight of the details. It’s important for founders to have their eyes on the consumer-facing details as much as possible, because the worst thing that can happen is the brand changes without anyone in the company knowing it.
What are some of your interests outside of work?
My 10-month-old son has just started eating solid food, so on weekends my husband and I like to go to the farmers market, buy all sorts of fruits and veggies, and cook them up for him throughout the week.