LDV Hospitality’s John Meadow Shares the Secret of His Success

John Meadow

Unlike other entrepreneurs, John Meadow didn’t open his first nightlife establishment for fame or fortune. He did it for love. “I fell for the romantic side of the hospitality industry,” the 33-year-old New York native says with a smile. “I’m a hopeless romantic. I fell for it and pursued it.”

Over the course of a decade, Meadow’s crush blossomed into a fullblown love affair, as he built up an enviable restaurant and nightlife empire with business partner, Curt Huegel, in the form of LDV Hospitality. Today, the company boasts 19 establishments in New York City, Miami, Vegas and Atlantic City with one overall goal: to bring the dream of La Dolce Vita to life. “We operate on a lot of different levels and price points,” Meadow explains, while seated at a plush banquette at his Chelsea hotspot, No.8. “We have the high-end Scarpetta Restaurant, the casual coffee bar, Corso Coffee, the glamorous No. 8 and the fun and funky Rec Room.”


 “We define the concept and the dream first, and then put together the right team of people that embody those beliefs and values and bring it to life.”

When creating the concept for No.8, which Meadow jokingly refers to as Bungalow 8 2.0, he strived to create a more mature and relaxed social experience, while still throwing one hell of a party. “It’s an exclusive venue, but the reality is, we have this casual environment,” he notes, gesturing around the bi-level space dotted with palm trees and cream leather booths. A massive chandelier, draped with long strands of crystal, hangs above the open ballroom, which gives way to a dimly lit circular bar etched with leaves. “It’s not just 1,000 people trying to buy bottles,” he insists. “It’s a very fun and natural social experience.” But the real draw is the upstairs VIP Rec Room, which features 5,000 vinyl records and DJ stylings by Uncle Mike. “He’s a true character with true grit and he definitely leaves his passion of the music,” Meadow reveals. “It’s a very different music program. Lionel Ritchie is always going to be music that people want to hear, and everything else that Uncle Mike plays.”

John Meadow 2

When LDV decides to embark on a new project or partnership, Meadow and his team try to do more than create profit; they try to create history. “We fall in love with a dream and we believe in the restaurant. We believe in the concept and we believe in the location,” he says. “We define the concept and the dream first, and then put together the right team of people that embody those beliefs and values and bring it to life.” Most recently, LD V joined forces with celebrity chef Marc Forgione for its most important restaurant opening to date: American Cut in Tribeca. “We’d describe American Cut as our new American steak restaurant,” Meadow explains. “This isn’t just a good old boys, old school, steak and potatoes type of steak joint. It’s a steak restaurant versus a steak house. We’re doing our version— with an Iron Chef in the kitchen. This is someone that could be doing threestar Michelin dining service.”Page-3-Image-4

Page-4-Image-6It’s this sort of clear vision that separates Meadow from the slew of other hospitality professionals flooding the Manhattan marketplace. “So many quality restaurants fail because they don’t know what their identity is,” he continues. “Know who you are, don’t have this massive ego. Understand exactly the vision of what you want to do and who you are as a company.”

Despite the constant influx of new restaurants, clubs and bars in Manhattan —and the competition to stay relevant—Meadow doesn’t rely on gimmicks to keep his customers coming back for more. “We don’t chase buzz,” he declares with an air of confidence. “We’re not marketers. We believe in our concepts, we believe in our operation and we give real service. We deliver quality product, period. It’s about a disciplined, genuine approach to hospitality that creates a product for our customer base to truly get excited about, believe in, and enjoy.”