Teamwork Makes HQ Work.
Helmed by award-winning chef, restaurateur, TV personality and cookbook author Akhtar Nawab, Hospitality HQ’s dynamic and comprehensive team prioritizes high-quality service at all levels, producing systems for food and beverage concepts which consistently optimize the guest experience.
The breadth of Hospitality HQ’s portfolio ranges from food hall development and management, to Michelin-awarded restaurants, hotel operations, banquet and catering operations, and fast-casual concepts. HHQ is currently the fastest-growing food hall management company in the country, with critically-acclaimed restaurant and communal dining projects located nationwide.
Chef Akhtar Nawab
CO-CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER / FOUNDING PARTNER
Akhtar Nawab is chef and owner of Alta Calidad in New York, Otra Vez in New Orleans, and Prather’s on the Alley in Washington, DC. He is also founding partner and Co-CEO of Hospitality HQ (HHQ), a creative consulting and management group which offers bespoke solutions for culinary-driven concepts across the country.
In 2017, Nawab opened his innovative Mexican restaurant Alta Calidad in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn, which earned a Michelin Bib Gourmand award in 2018 and 2019 and continues to thrive as a neighborhood mainstay.
Nawab and his business partner Michael Wetherbee launched Hospitality HQ in 2019, which quickly grew into one of the country’s premier food hall management firms with properties in Omaha, NE (Inner Rail Food Hall), Chicago, IL (Dr. Murphy’s Food Hall), Houston, TX (Lyric Market, opening Winter 2021) and more projects soon to be announced.
CO-CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER / FOUNDING PARTNER
Michael has worked with some of the world’s most renowned chefs, restaurants and operators including David Chang’s Momofuku Ma Peche (awarded two stars by The New York Times), as well as AvroKo’s PUBLIC (one Michelin star) and Saxon + Parole (awarded one star by The New York Times).
In 2017, Michael opened Alta Calidad with his partner, chef Akhtar Nawab, and has been instrumental in growing the company from a single restaurant to helming the diverse portfolio of food & beverage assets Hospitality HQ has today.
Michael’s range of operational experience spans from fine dining to fast casual restaurants, hotels, food halls, and beyond, affording him the unique ability to create dynamic and memorable food and beverage experiences for guests of any Hospitality HQ property.
CHIEF CULINARY OFFICER / PARTNER
Chef Cruz Goler has over 20 years of professional restaurant experience, ranging from four-star French and Italian restaurants like Jean-George and Del Posto, vegetarian Michelin-starred Nix, La Pecora Bianca, Lupa and multi-outlet hotels such as The Standard. Beyond New York City, Cruz has opened restaurants in Hong Kong and cooked his way through South America and Mexico.
Cruz has always integrated the greenmarket community and small farmers into every project he’s worked on, and his role with Hospitality HQ is no exception. In addition to focusing on culinary operations and brand development, Cruz’s focus at HHQ often includes launching green initiatives and strengthening existing projects with efforts around locality and sustainability.
DIRECTOR OF MARKETING
Lydia Mazzolini joins HHQ with over 12 years in Marketing and PR. She began her career in the designer fashion industry working in-house for brands such as Gucci, Louis Vuitton and Dolce and Gabbana.
Later in her career she transitioned to luxury retail real estate, working for global power- house, Cushman & Wake eld. Lydia embarked on her hospitality journey after joining renowned NYC and Miami based FREEHOLD Hospitality Group in 2017 as CMO, where she built the brand from one to five stores over the course of 3.5 years.
Lydia now sits as Director of Marketing on the HHQ executive team where she handles all Marketing, PR and Event related initiatives, while simultaneously assisting the HHQ team with an exciting expansion plan.
DIRECTOR OF OPERATIONS
Matthew Taylor’s culinary career began with an intrigue for the fast paced, creative world of restaurants. He got his start training under Chef Raymond Timpone in his old world Italian kitchen in Urbana, IL, and worked his way up through some of the most respected restaurants in the country including 2-Michelin starred Cyrus in Healdsburg, CA.
Matt initially joined the Hospitality HQ team as general manager of Inner Rail Food Hall, the group’s inaugural food hall project in Omaha, NE. Under Matt’s management, Inner Rail remained safely open for business throughout the COVID-19 shutdown, and was the first food hall in the nation to adopt a COVID-19 safety manual (as produced by HHQ).
In his current position as Director of Operations, Matt plays a critical role in building streamlined operational systems for new HHQ projects, as well as ensuring efficiency and consistency for existing projects.