Brokers mix real estate with restaurants

August 03, 2012 04:00PM

Spending all day running around the city matching buyers and sellers can work up quite an appetite in brokers, and a handful of them have a place they can call their own to satiate that hunger. The New York Times published a feature on New York City real estate agents that also work in the restaurant business.

Some, including Brian Morgan of Citi Habitats, Frank Castelluccio and Henry Beck of the Corcoran Group, and Halstead Property’s Lauren Cangiano got into the restaurant business through family members. They are connected with Traffic, Sapori, Grill 21, and Tre Otto, respectively. Christine O’Neal, a Halstead Property broker, took the opposite approach, landing in the real estate sales business only after running restaurants including, Ginger Man, Landmark Tavern and the West 79th Street Boat Basin Cafe.

Others opened eateries as a result of their performance as brokers. Brown Harris Stevens’ Gina O’Keefe decided to open Taproom No. 307 on Third Avenue a few years ago because the real estate market was struggling. Halstead brokers Ari Harkov and Warner Lewis opened Donna under the Williamsburg Bridge to become better known in the community. Finally, Brown Harris Stevens’ Levi Michaels opened Ciao Bella on the Lower East Side after promising to take a property off of a landlord’s hands.

The Times noted that pairing real estate sales with food sales has a certain intrinsic logic. Both fall under the broader hospitality industry, both require extroverts, and both necessitate a deep knowledge of neighborhood dynamics. Neither, the Times said, is for the faint of heart. [NYT]