Andrew Rigie grew up working at his family’s bakery in Queens and went on to graduate from the Institute of Culinary Education. He joined the New York State Restaurant Association in 2004, where he recruited and served members by providing a myriad of resources and consulting services to operators, chefs and industry providers. In 2009, he took the helm as Executive Vice President of the New York City operations for the 75+ year old organization.
1. Best thing about living in NYC?
The hustle and bustle.
2. Favorite NYC restaurant?
I have many favorite restaurants depending on my mood and the occasion. But when I’m asked for a recommendation, I almost always suggest ilili for their delicious Lebanese cuisine, top-notch service and hospitality.
3. Favorite neighborhood?
The Upper West Side of Manhattan. It’s a real neighborhood, people are engaged in the community and they are through and through New Yorkers. There are so many great neighborhoods in the five boroughs, but no matter where I go, I always feel fortunate when I get home to the Upper West Side.
4. The best part of my job is…
that I get to blend my passions for people, hospitality and politics. It’s very fulfilling when I go to restaurants, speak with the owners and operators about how government and other factors are impacting their businesses, and then get to go advocate on their behalf and support their success.
5. A visit to New York isn’t complete until…
you get a coffee, bacon egg and cheese and a newspaper from a bodega.
6. Subways or cabs?
If I have the time, I’ll walk everywhere, no matter the weather. But if I have to choose, then I like the subway because that’s where the people are, although it needs to be rebuilt.
7. Best advice you’ve ever received?
Show up, have a positive attitude, work hard and let life happen.
8. Favorite weekend getaway?
In the winter I like getting away with my wife and friends to a mountain to snowboard, where there’s a good restaurant to eat at the night we arrive, a house with a fireplace to lounge by, an outdoor hot tub to relax in, and a kitchen to cook a feast in the second night.
9. What long shot have you taken that really paid off?
Leaving a secure job I enjoyed that provided me with great benefits, in order to launch the NYC Hospitality Alliance, which at the time was a risky and unknown endeavor, was the best professional decision I’ve made.