Steven Kay '94
Steven Kay '94
Mel's Burger Bar
Steven Kay owns and operates Mel’s Burger Bar, the ultimate burger and bar experience. He has acquired extensive education and experience in the hospitality and restaurant industry over the last 25 years. His education includes a Bachelor of Science degree from the School of Hotel Administration at Cornell University, as well as a summer program at the prestigious hotel school in Lausanne, Switzerland. Upon completing his education, Steven began working for the Fitzpatrick Hotel Company at their 57th Street location as the assistant food and beverage director. He then opened a bar on the upper west side of Manhattan called The Gorge Bar NY. After selling the Gorge, Steven has since been managing New York restaurants. He was in charge of all front-of-the-house operations at One C.P.S., a Smith and Wollensky–owned restaurant in the Plaza Hotel. He subsequently went on to join the management team at Tao. Tao is a high volume midtown restaurant with annual revenues in excess of $25 million. His responsibilities included that of the maitre d’ and management of the $8 million-a-year beverage business. In 2004, Steven once again decided to branch out on his own, and opened Philly Slim’s Cheesesteaks. The first Philly Slim’s opened in summer 2004, and the second in spring 2007. The authentic Philly Cheesesteak restaurants quickly gained critical acclaim. He sold the restaurants in 2010.
Steven then went back to work for his old employer from Tao as the general manager of Mel’s Burger Bar. He was responsible for overseeing the construction of the restaurant, developing the concept, developing and implementing all the systems, and all the day-to-day operations of the restaurant from its inception. In October 2011, Steven reached an agreement for the outright purchase of Mel’s Burger Bar and assumed complete operational control at that time. He then built Mel’s Burger Bar into an extremely successful restaurant. Now in its sixth year, Mel’s is an institution in the Morningside Heights neighborhood of Manhattan. In September 2015, Steven opened Mel’s Burger Bar’s second location on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. He continues to operate and oversee all business development and day-to-day operations of the company.