Haute Secrets Boston: Chris Himmel of Himmel Hospitality Group

Chris Himmel knows what it takes to make a restaurant a longstanding iconic success.

Grill 23 Bar & Grill
Grill 23 Bar & Grill

Photo Credit: Grill 23 Bar & Grill

After all, his family owned Himmel Hospitality Group owns and operates three of Boston’s most popular restaurants – Grill 23 & Bar, Harvest and Post 390. Grill 23 is often hailed as the city’s best steakhouse and for good reason. The Back Bay restaurant that opened in 1983, one of the longest running still in operation, focuses on the farm-to-table concept working closely with purveyors.

Himmel’s hands-on experience goes beyond how many restaurateurs operate. He can often be seen fishing with the local fishermen that provide the restaurants with their seafood selections, visits farms that grow their produce, etc. Himmel got his start in the restaurant industry at a young age and knew he would follow in his father’s footsteps of continuing to operate the successful restaurant. He later graduated from Cornell School of Hotel Administration and trained under one of the most respected chefs in the country, Thomas Keller.

From devoting time to his two Back Bay outposts (Grill 23 and Post 390) to the popular Harvard Square restaurant (Harvest), Himmel is also actively involved with the Boys & Girls Club, often inviting youth to visit his restaurants, experience life inside a bustling kitchen and cook their own garden-grown product.

We recently caught up with him to find out what he loves most about Boston.

Where were you born? Marblehead, Massachusetts

How long in Boston? Full time since 2001/2002

Where do you live now? Boston, Massachusetts

Occupation? Executive Vice President of Himmel Hospitality Group (Post 390, Grill 23 & Bar and Harvest)

Favorite historic/legendary place to see or explore: Fenway Park

Describe Boston in three words: Loyal. Proud. Independent.

Best aspect of Boston: The proximity of the city to the Atlantic Ocean

Best power business lunch: Bistro du Midi in Boston’s Back Bay

Favorite ethnic restaurant: Toro in Boston’s South End

Favorite bar: The Bar at Eastern Standard Kitchen & Drinks in Boston’s Kenmore Square

Best local pizza joint: Pizzeria Regina in Boston’s North End

Best place for ethnic cuisine (Japanese/Indian/Mexican): Peach Farm Restaurant in Boston’s Chinatown

Favorite charity event: Overkill Benefit Dinner

Favorite place for dessert: Homemade Ice Cream from Picco Restaurant in Boston’s South End