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Richard Melman

Owner, Founder and CEO of Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises, Inc.

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 Richard Melman Biography

Since 1971, Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises, Inc. (LEYE) has maintained a sense of humor and enjoyment while creating high quality, successful restaurants.

Due to the innovation of LEYE’s Founder and Chairman, Richard Melman, and his creative team of partners and employees, LEYE currently owns, licenses or manages more than 82 establishments in Illinois, Arizona, Minnesota, Nevada, California, Maryland and Virginia.

The founding of LEYE was the result of joining Melman’s food ideas with the confidence and support of Jerry A. Orzoff, Melman’s first partner. A successful real estate agent and North Michigan Avenue haberdasher, Orzoff (who died in 1981 at the age of 45), played a crucial role in Melman’s life as a friend and mentor. “Jerry was a guy I respected and related to,” says Melman. “He believed in my ideas. Meeting him was the turning point in my life.”

After meeting Melman for the first time in 1970, Orzoff liked his off-beat ideas and believed in his ability. Working together as new friends and partners, Melman and Orzoff raised a total of $17,000 to create an upbeat eatery geared toward young singles interested in rock music, casual clothes and healthy food. Melman hired bright, attractive waitresses and bartenders and filled the location with hanging plants and modern artwork. The menu was designed to appeal to a variety of tastes and included everything from vegetarian and macrobiotic foods to hamburgers, sandwiches, milkshakes and the first fruit and vegetable-laden salad bar. Melman and Orzoff paired their first initials, added the sound a pig makes when eating and baptized the establishment R.J. Grunts on June 10, 1971 in Chicago’s Lincoln Park. Despite a lackluster response in the opening weeks, Orzoff provided the much needed confidence and enthusiasm to keep Melman optimistic until his dream became reality. After one month, Grunts became a success.

For Melman and Orzoff, the success of R.J. Grunts marked the beginning. In 1973 new ideas and concepts were created, including the debut of Fritz That’s It! in Evanston, Illinois, followed by the Great Gritzbe’s Flying Food Show in 1974, Jonathan Livingston Seafood in 1975, and Lawrence of Oregano in 1976. With each new restaurant Melman’s style evolved as he welcomed new challenges. Having mastered the off-beat casual restaurant style, Melman directed his attention and energy toward the world of fine cuisine when he reopened the famous Pump Room in Chicago’s Gold Coast in 1976. In an attempt to maintain the ambiance and reputation of this establishment, which originally opened in 1938, Melman trained with a noted Chicago culinary expert, reorganized the kitchen, redecorated the room, and hired a staff trained in the LEYE philosophy. (NOTE: the Public Chicago Hotel currently handles Management of the Pump Room.)

In 1979, Melman decided to expand to the Chicago suburbs and opened Bones in Lincolnwood, Illinois. In 1980, LEYE took the popular R.J. Grunts, added a more contemporary look, and opened a second location in Glenview, Illinois.

Due to the success of The Pump Room, Melman became interested in an expansion of fine dining restaurants. As a result, in 1980, Melman and Chef Gabino Sotelino, traveled to France with the intent to bring contemporary French cuisine to Chicago. This led to the opening of Ambria and a lasting partnership between Melman and Sotelino.

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  • HOW TO BOOK Richard Melman?

    Our booking agents have successfully helped clients around the world secure talent like Richard Melman for both live and virtual events for over 15 years. The team at All American Entertainment represents and listens to the needs of organizations and corporations seeking to hire keynote speakers, celebrities or entertainers for speaking engagements, personal appearances, product endorsements, or corporate entertainment. Fill out a booking request form for Richard Melman, or call our office at 1.800.698.2536 to discuss your upcoming event. One of our experienced agents will be happy to help you get pricing information and check availability for Richard Melman or any other celebrity of your choice.
  • HOW MUCH DOES IT COST TO BOOK Richard Melman?

    Booking fees for Richard Melman, or any other speakers and celebrities, are determined based on a number of factors and may change without notice. Pricing often varies between live and virtual events. Other factors that can affect speaker fees include the talent's schedule, market conditions, length of presentation, and the location of the event. The live and virtual event speaking fees listed on this website are intended to serve as a guideline only. In some cases, the actual quote may be above or below the stated range. For the most current fee to hire Richard Melman, please fill out the booking request form or call our office at 1.800.698.2536 to speak with an experienced booking agent.
  • WHO IS THE AGENT FOR Richard Melman?

    All American Entertainment has successfully secured celebrity talent like Richard Melman for clients worldwide for more than 15 years. As a full-service talent booking agency, we have access to virtually any speaker or celebrity in the world. Our agents are happy and able to submit an offer to the speaker or celebrity of your choice, letting you benefit from our reputation and long-standing relationships in the industry. Fill out the booking request form or call our office at 1.800.698.2536, and one of our agents will assist you to book Richard Melman for your next private or corporate function.
  • WHAT IS A FULL-SERVICE TALENT BOOKING AGENCY?

    All American Speakers is a "buyers agent" and exclusively represents talent buyers, meeting planners and event professionals, who are looking to secure celebrities and speakers for personal appearances, speaking engagements, corporate entertainment, public relations campaigns, commercials, or endorsements. We do not exclusively represent Richard Melman or claim ourselves as the exclusive booking agency, business manager, publicist, speakers bureau or management for Richard Melman or any other speaker or celebrity on this website. For more information on how we work and what makes us unique, please read the AAE Advantage.
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This website is a resource for event professionals and strives to provide the most comprehensive catalog of thought leaders and industry experts to consider for speaking engagements. A listing or profile on this website does not imply an agency affiliation or endorsement by the talent.

All American Entertainment (AAE) exclusively represents the interests of talent buyers, and does not claim to be the agency or management for any speaker or artist on this site. AAE is a talent booking agency for paid events only. We do not handle requests for donation of time or media requests for interviews, and cannot provide celebrity contact information.

If you are the talent, and wish to request removal from this catalog or report an issue with your profile, please click here.

Richard Melman

Owner, Founder and CEO of Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises, Inc.

Travels From:
Chicago, IL, USA
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Richard Melman Biography

Since 1971, Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises, Inc. (LEYE) has maintained a sense of humor and enjoyment while creating high quality, successful restaurants.

Due to the innovation of LEYE’s Founder and Chairman, Richard Melman, and his creative team of partners and employees, LEYE currently owns, licenses or manages more than 82 establishments in Illinois, Arizona, Minnesota, Nevada, California, Maryland and Virginia.

The founding of LEYE was the result of joining Melman’s food ideas with the confidence and support of Jerry A. Orzoff, Melman’s first partner. A successful real estate agent and North Michigan Avenue haberdasher, Orzoff (who died in 1981 at the age of 45), played a crucial role in Melman’s life as a friend and mentor. “Jerry was a guy I respected and related to,” says Melman. “He believed in my ideas. Meeting him was the turning point in my life.”

After meeting Melman for the first time in 1970, Orzoff liked his off-beat ideas and believed in his ability. Working together as new friends and partners, Melman and Orzoff raised a total of $17,000 to create an upbeat eatery geared toward young singles interested in rock music, casual clothes and healthy food. Melman hired bright, attractive waitresses and bartenders and filled the location with hanging plants and modern artwork. The menu was designed to appeal to a variety of tastes and included everything from vegetarian and macrobiotic foods to hamburgers, sandwiches, milkshakes and the first fruit and vegetable-laden salad bar. Melman and Orzoff paired their first initials, added the sound a pig makes when eating and baptized the establishment R.J. Grunts on June 10, 1971 in Chicago’s Lincoln Park. Despite a lackluster response in the opening weeks, Orzoff provided the much needed confidence and enthusiasm to keep Melman optimistic until his dream became reality. After one month, Grunts became a success.

For Melman and Orzoff, the success of R.J. Grunts marked the beginning. In 1973 new ideas and concepts were created, including the debut of Fritz That’s It! in Evanston, Illinois, followed by the Great Gritzbe’s Flying Food Show in 1974, Jonathan Livingston Seafood in 1975, and Lawrence of Oregano in 1976. With each new restaurant Melman’s style evolved as he welcomed new challenges. Having mastered the off-beat casual restaurant style, Melman directed his attention and energy toward the world of fine cuisine when he reopened the famous Pump Room in Chicago’s Gold Coast in 1976. In an attempt to maintain the ambiance and reputation of this establishment, which originally opened in 1938, Melman trained with a noted Chicago culinary expert, reorganized the kitchen, redecorated the room, and hired a staff trained in the LEYE philosophy. (NOTE: the Public Chicago Hotel currently handles Management of the Pump Room.)

In 1979, Melman decided to expand to the Chicago suburbs and opened Bones in Lincolnwood, Illinois. In 1980, LEYE took the popular R.J. Grunts, added a more contemporary look, and opened a second location in Glenview, Illinois.

Due to the success of The Pump Room, Melman became interested in an expansion of fine dining restaurants. As a result, in 1980, Melman and Chef Gabino Sotelino, traveled to France with the intent to bring contemporary French cuisine to Chicago. This led to the opening of Ambria and a lasting partnership between Melman and Sotelino.

Richard Melman Videos

  • Richard Melman offers advice to new concepts | MUFSO 2012

FAQs on booking Richard Melman

  • How to book Richard Melman?

    Our booking agents have successfully helped clients around the world secure talent like Richard Melman for both live and virtual events for over 15 years. The team at All American Entertainment represents and listens to the needs of organizations and corporations seeking to hire keynote speakers, celebrities or entertainers for speaking engagements, personal appearances, product endorsements, or corporate entertainment. Fill out a booking request form for Richard Melman, or call our office at 1.800.698.2536 to discuss your upcoming event. One of our experienced agents will be happy to help you get pricing information and check availability for Richard Melman or any other celebrity of your choice.
  • How much does it cost to book Richard Melman?

    Booking fees for Richard Melman, or any other speakers and celebrities, are determined based on a number of factors and may change without notice. Pricing often varies between live and virtual events. Other factors that can affect speaker fees include the talent's schedule, market conditions, length of presentation, and the location of the event. The live and virtual event speaking fees listed on this website are intended to serve as a guideline only. In some cases, the actual quote may be above or below the stated range. For the most current fee to hire Richard Melman, please fill out the booking request form or call our office at 1.800.698.2536 to speak with an experienced booking agent.
  • Who is the agent for Richard Melman?

    All American Entertainment has successfully secured celebrity talent like Richard Melman for clients worldwide for more than 15 years. As a full-service talent booking agency, we have access to virtually any speaker or celebrity in the world. Our agents are happy and able to submit an offer to the speaker or celebrity of your choice, letting you benefit from our reputation and long-standing relationships in the industry. Fill out the booking request form or call our office at 1.800.698.2536, and one of our agents will assist you to book Richard Melman for your next private or corporate function.
  • What is a full-service talent booking agency?

    All American Speakers is a "buyers agent" and exclusively represents talent buyers, meeting planners and event professionals, who are looking to secure celebrities and speakers for personal appearances, speaking engagements, corporate entertainment, public relations campaigns, commercials, or endorsements. We do not exclusively represent Richard Melman or claim ourselves as the exclusive booking agency, business manager, publicist, speakers bureau or management for Richard Melman or any other speaker or celebrity on this website. For more information on how we work and what makes us unique, please read the AAE Advantage.

Richard Melman is a keynote speaker and industry expert who speaks on a wide range of topics . The estimated speaking fee range to book Richard Melman for your event is available upon request. Richard Melman generally travels from Chicago, IL, USA and can be booked for (private) corporate events, personal appearances, keynote speeches, or other performances. Similar motivational celebrity speakers are R "Ray" Wang, Bill Drayton, Toby Cosgrove, Linda Descano and Kristiina Hiukka. Contact All American Speakers for ratings, reviews, videos and information on scheduling Richard Melman for an upcoming live or virtual event.

Richard Melman Speaker Videos

  • Richard Melman offers advice to new concepts | MUFSO 2012

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Speakers Similar to Richard Melman

This website is a resource for event professionals and strives to provide the most comprehensive catalog of thought leaders and industry experts to consider for speaking engagements. A listing or profile on this website does not imply an agency affiliation or endorsement by the talent.

All American Entertainment (AAE) exclusively represents the interests of talent buyers, and does not claim to be the agency or management for any speaker or artist on this site. AAE is a talent booking agency for paid events only. We do not handle requests for donation of time or media requests for interviews, and cannot provide celebrity contact information.

If you are the talent, and wish to request removal from this catalog or report an issue with your profile, please click here.

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