Newsroom Archive


Renowned Restaurateur Phil Suarez Joins John Jay College Foundation Board

Renowned Restaurateur Phil Suarez Joins John Jay College Foundation Board

New York, NY – May 7, 2010 – John Jay College of Criminal Justice today announced the appointment of Phil Suarez to the John Jay College Foundation Board. Mr. Suarez is CEO and President of the Suarez Restaurant Group and Partner of Culinary Concepts by Jean-Georges.

Mr. Suarez began his career in the advertising field working with renowned advertising executive George Lois’ television production department. He then partnered with Bob Giraldi to form Giraldi Suarez Productions which in 1973 went on to produce award-winning commercials such as the Lite Beer ads for Miller Brewing and music videos including Michael Jackson’ s Beat It.

The success of his first restaurant, Positano, paved the way for Suarez’s relationship with internationally renowned chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten. In 1991, the two opened JoJo, a contemporary French atelier that went on to earn sterling accolades including three stars from The New York Times and the title of 1992 “Restaurant of the Year” from Esquire magazine. Suarez subsequent restaurant projects have included Patria, a phenomenal homage to his Puerto Rican heritage, as well as national and international dining destinations like Gigino Trattoria, Jean Georges, Mercer Kitchen, Matsugen and Prime Steakhouse at the Bellagio in Las Vegas.  And, in subsequent years the opening of acclaimed restaurants like, Perry St, ABC Kitchen and Spice Market, a temple of Southeast Asian street food. 

In 2003, Mr. Suarez and Mr. Vongerichten  partnered with Wylie Dufresne at wd~50, a lower east side restaurant featuring Wylie’s ‘molecular gastronomy’, and more recently with Jim Lahey of Sullivan Street Bakery fame, at Co., a modern pizzeria just named by GQ as one of the top pizzerias in the country. Mr. Suarez and Mr. Vongerichten, who have worked together for more than 20 years, continue to create restaurants that are both timely and enduring such as their most recent New York opening, The Mark Restaurant by Jean Georges.

Mr. Suarez’s newest venture with Vongerichten is a partnership with Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. and private equity firm Catterton Partners to create an international, multi-concept restaurant and licensing business under the company name Culinary Concepts by Jean-Georges. This new business develops, owns, operates, manages and licenses world-class restaurants created by Jean-Georges, including New York City’s highly successful Spice Market, new-to-be-developed multi-unit Jean-Georges restaurant concepts, and freestanding restaurants outside of Starwood’s hotels.  Culinary Concepts by Jean-Georges has already opened Spice Market in Atlanta, GA, and Doha, Qatar.  2008 saw Market restaurants in Doha, Buckhead, and the One & Only resort in Los Cabos, as well as a in Scottsdale, AZ.  2009 openings included Market in Vancouver, Market in Boston and a J&G Steakhouse in Washington, DC.  2010 promises restaurants in such varied locations as Mexico City and Hawaii.

Mr. Suarez has actively served on the Board of Directors of the Police Athletic League for more than 20 years.  He has also been on the Board of the New York Urban Coalition, acted as President of the Catholic Big Brothers Association, and is a member of the New York State Commission on Human Rights.  He maintains a commitment to Harlem’s residential revival, manifest in his investments in the Harlem Horizon condominiums.  He is a recipient of the Ellis Island Medal of Honor and was presented with the Outstanding Leadership Award from the Armory High School Sports Foundation.  Crain’s New York Business counted him among their 100 Most Influential Business Leaders in 2002 and then again in 2003 as one of their 100 Most Powerful Minority Business Leaders. 

Mr. Suarez, born and raised in Manhattan's Washington Heights, graduated from Parsons.

About John Jay College of Criminal Justice

An international leader in educating for justice, John Jay College of Criminal Justice of The City University of New York offers a rich liberal arts and professional studies curriculum to upwards of 15,000 undergraduate and graduate students from more than 135 nations. In teaching, scholarship and research, the College approaches justice as an applied art and science in service to society and as an ongoing conversation about fundamental human desires for fairness, equality and the rule of law. For more information, visit