The Hospitality industry has been faring well for several years now with consumers wanting a new experience every time they step into a hotel or restaurant. In NEO the RNC sparked hotel & restaurant investment, and Cleveland became a destination city nationwide. We will look to our expert panel to talk about their strategies in terms of growth of their businesses, how we compare to other markets, and how we continue the momentum here in Cleveland.
Rocco Whalen | Farenheit
Rocco Whalen, if nothing else, is wrapped up in the love of cooking: the idea and vitality of it, the invention and sustainability of it, and the day-to-day enrichment of it. All combine as convictions he affectionately shares with regulars and first-timers who dine at his remarkable restaurant, Fahrenheit the first open-air rooftop restaurant and bar in Uptown Charlotte, and also in Cleveland’s historic Tremont neighborhood.
Rocco does not stand still. Which is why, today, with Fahrenheit home to a packed house every day of the week, he has emerged as one of the best chefs in Charlotte, in Cleveland and in the Midwest. His restaurants and recipes have been featured nationwide. He is also a sought after television personality and culinary guest on the Food Network, the Travel Channel, and numerous local TV news programs.
Early in his culinary career, Rocco held positions with Wolfgang Puck at Spago, Obachin, Granita and Chinois. As the Fahrenheit Restaurants have grown, he also expanded his brand with Rosie & Rocco’s; Rocco’s at the Q at Quicken Loans Arena; Great Lakes Cheesesteaks and Rosie & Rocco’s both at FirstEnergy Stadium; All Access Café at the Cleveland Rock Hall of Fame; and traveling near and far in his food truck, ShortRib1.
Rex Carpenter, AIA, LEED AP | IRG Realty Advisors
Prior to joining IRGRA in April of this year, Rex was a partner in a global architecture firm focused on mixed use environments. Past experience in the hospitality sector includes the University of Texas AT&T Hotel and Conference Center and a duel brand hotel in Denver’s downtown. He is currently working on the Pro Football Hall of Fame Hotel and Mixed Use development, repurposing of an existing office building into a mid-market hotel and a Boutique Hotel and destination Spa focused on a connection to nature.
Sam McNulty | Market Garden Brewery