Born and raised on the upper west side of Manhattan, Eli Zabar was destined for the world of food and wine. After graduating from Columbia University in 1967, he ran a restaurant in Nantucket for a year and spent a short time at various food and wine businesses in New York before opening E.A.T. at 1064 Madison Avenue in 1973.
Since then, Eli Zabar’s name has become synonymous with great food.
Whilst he was expanding his food empire, Eli’s love affair with wine continued to blossom, a passion that began over a half a century ago when he discovered the wines of Burgundy.
“I have been cooking, eating and loving the food and wine of Burgundy for most of my adult life. I discovered Burgundy in my 20’s and I have never faltered in my devotion. The wines never fail to engage me at the highest level.”
As such, in 2002, Eli opened Eli's List (formerly W.I.N.E.) Wine and Spirits next to Eli's Table (formerly Taste) Restaurant Wine Bar. Eli's List's 600 + wines are all carefully chosen by Eli himself and his team of experts who surround him: Jean Emmanuel Simond, Randall Restiano and Daniel Feldman. The selection that is heavy on Burgundy, Piedmont and Champagne, reflects Eli’s passion for carefully, traditional, pure and naturally made wines that are open and ready to drink. Often, Eli will buy wines, but he will not sell them until they reach their optimal drinking period.
Eli personally chose the staff at Eli's List for their knowledge and communication skills in order to help customers in choosing wines. The shop has daily tastings often paired with food from Eli’s market next door. Every year, during the vendange (harvest), Eli and his team go to either France or Italy on a tour, visiting vignerons that they know, discovering new ones, tasting new vintages of wines they know and trying new wines.
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Randall guides the buying of the shop and restaurant and leads classes and staff training on a weekly basis. He has a extensive and comprehensive knowledge of European wines with an expertise in Italian wines. Randall is constantly taking trips through Europe visiting wineries and vignerons and contantly searching the best products.
His career began as Graduate of the Sommelier Society of America in New York City and participant of many classes in the Wine & Spirits Education Trust in New York City and in London as well. He has been on the team and instrumental in creating winning wine lists throughout his career. Besides many years in restaurants prior, his real wine training began at Scott Conant's L'Impero in Tudor City. He then went to become the wine director and general manager of the award winning Zuppa Restaurant in Westchester, New York in 2005 until 2009. In 2010, He worked alongside Jacob Kennedy as the wine director of Bocca di Lupo in London. He returned to New York in 2011 where he was the consultant for 10 different wine programs throughout New York until 2013. In January of 2013 he joined Eli's as the director of both Eli's Table Restaurant and Eli's List.
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With sixteen years in the Restaurant Industry in New York City and education in the French Culinary Institute and the American Sommelier Association, Germán has been Sommelier, Beverage Director and General Manager in prestigious organizations as Tour de France Restaurants, Flatiron Restaurant Group and Industria Argentina. In 2004 with a group of partners opened Camino Sur, a pioneer project in the perception of Latin food, with an innovative wine program. Simultaneously, he is a member of Calle-Suarez, a consulting agency, specialized in gastronomy with focus on the Latin American market. Germán joined Eli Zabar’s team in September 2010.
Germán shares Eli’s passion for wines that are a true expression of origin, made following respectful farming practices and traditional methods. The wines from Burgundy, the Loire Valley and the Rhone are particularly close to his heart and object of constant study and research.
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After general training ( Masters of Law, Sciences Po Paris ), he transformed his passion for the world of wine. A sales manager in New York from an importer for two years, then he joined, as a buyer, Magnumvinum Internet site. Since 2001 , he has contributed as a consultant in the development of Legrand Filles & Fils, one of the finest wine shops in Paris. He was involved in the selection of wines, implementation and managed the event activities, travels and tastings. He has worked as well as a journalist, exclusively on French wines, and this led him to collaborate in different publications. He is part of the tasting committee for La Revue du Vin de France, an essential magazine for its expertise in French wine and which he holds a monthly column and frequent articles. He is the co-author of the definitive guide to French wines, "The best wines of France 2012", and the guide "The best wines under €20 - 2012." In 2005, he founded the company Oenotropie, which educates on tasting and cultural aspects of wine and imports and distributes a portfolio of foreign wines in France exclusively ( Italy, Spain, Austria, Portugal, South Africa, California). It is a selection and distribution of a range of wines from wineries chosen for their excellence. Since October 2006, he oversees and manages the Sciences Po Paris an open teaching on "Understanding the wine market : The French companies in a changing global market." Focused on marketing, strategic and economic understanding of the challenges facing the sector wine. Since 2007, Jean-Emmanuel has been a consultant to Eli’s List, helping to guide the shop’s selection and a grand selection of wines that are cellared for the future.
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Daniel Feldman joins from Brooklyn, NY by way of Houston, TX. Educated at Cornell University’s Hotel School and as a Certified Sommelier through the Court of Master Sommeliers, Dan has been working in the wine business since age 19. Eli met Dan while he was working as an Assistant Winemaker at Hermann J. Wiemer Vineyards in New York’s Finger Lakes. Dan has since worked as a Professor’s Assistant for Beverage Management students at Cornell University, an Events Coordinator for fine wine distribution companies, and most recently a Restaurant Manager and Sommelier at Michelin starred restaurants Robuchon and L’Atelier de Robuchon, Las Vegas.
Here at Eli’s, Dan has helped build an internship program for students interested in Specialty Food Sales, opened the Amagansett Farmer’s Market, and assisted us as a consultant atEli's List and Eli's Table Restaurant. Dan joins Eli’s team on the wine route, travelling through vineyards and markets, searching out the stories and meeting the people who bring us such pleasure at our dinner tables.
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Ruben has been Eli’s Cellar Master for the past 15 years, keeping records and caring for the integrity of the wine collection. He has been first hand witness of it’s growth, in quantity and in depth, and evolution. Ruben has work for Eli in different capacities, and now he is managing Eli's Table restaurant. Ruben is passionate about the wines from the old world, specially Burgundy and Spain, but the malbecs from his native Argentina and the ones from Cahors are very close to his heart.
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