While Tom Dillon’s first job was in the restaurant industry—he was a dishwasher at a seafood restaurant on Long Island—he calls his journey to starting Apicii, the hospitality management company of which he’s founder and CEO, a “long and winding road.”
The Armonk, NY, resident worked at Colgate Palmolive for more than 10 years, in Brazil, India, Guatemala, Malaysia and Hong Kong, before opening a Pret a Manger in Asia. He then moved to London to serve as the company’s CMO, and eventually to the U.S., to serve as CEO. He’s partnered with celeb chef Richard Sandoval and also headed up Patina Restaurant Group, running iconic spots like The Hollywood Bowl and The Metropolitan Opera.
That all primed him and business partner Bernard Schwartz to launch Apicii in 2011, whose headquarters are in a 150-year-old townhouse in Greenwich Village, that’s also home to their restaurant, Casa Apicii, and to Apicii Atelier, a creative concept studio that creates hospitality concepts for others. Of the overall company, Dillon says, “We work with real estate developers, hotel companies, retailers and life- style brands, creating or operating restaurants, bars, clubs and event spaces.”
He explains, “We started the company with the intention of having our own restaurants and bars, but in the beginning, a good deal of our work was advising hotels on food and beverage.” The demand for experiential retail and high- amenity offices and residences has grown, he says—and they’ve grown with it, working with retailers like Bloomingdale’s and residences like 432 Fifth Ave., New York, NY, in addition to hospitality and entertainment clients.
These days, the company’s recent projects include The Bath Club in Miami, FL, an exclusive beach club; developing and operating food and beverage for the First National Building in Oklahoma City; and, closer to home, The Wheel, the restaurant and event space at The Village, the game-changing new work/play venture from Brent and Courtney Montgomery in Stamford, CT.
“One of my favorite quotes is: Life is about the people you meet and the thing you create with them, so go out and start creating,” says Dillon. “I honestly did not know what [that] really meant until I met the team at Wheelhouse. The true sense of collaboration and community that they inspire is how we got to The Wheel.”
Apicii will be operating all of the food and beverage for The Wheel, which includes collaborations with Cisco Brewers and their community beer garden on the canal-side patio, and Mike Gellar of Mike’s Organic, who Dillon says is, “working with us to infuse our American farm- to-table concept with local artisanal supplies and his wide network of farmers and purveyors.”