Brian Jontow was not always on track to be in the restaurant business; in fact, his career path started in dental school. In 1969 he took a summer job as a dishwasher and assistant cook in the Hamptons. While there, he met people who were involved in the restaurant business on the east side of Manhattan. After the summer, he called upon these connections and began waiting tables at night while in school.
Brian became intrigued by the business and decided to take a leave of absence from school. In 1976, his career path became solidified when he met Alan Stillman, and was hired at the original T.G.I.Friday's. A year later he was offered the job as Night Manager.
Having proven himself, Brian was recruited by Mr. Stillman for many projects over the next 10 years. He began his long-standing career in the steak business at Smith & Wollensky. He was then hired as the opening Night Manager for The Post House, and then moved to Wollensky's Grill where he also set up the banquet program. For the next 3 years he became General Manager for Smith & Wollensky, taking time off to work on a project at the South Street Seaport.
In 1985, Mr. Jontow took a short break from steakhouses. He opened Pizzico, a southern French/northern Italian restaurant; a concept he developed with Evelyn Slomon, the author of The Pizza Book.
In 1991, after a year with the Hudson River Group, Brian returned to the steakhouse world as General Manager at Ben Benson's. He remained there for 21 years until June of 2012, when the restaurant closed.
As Ben Benson's was closing, Dean Poll was re-launching Gallaghers Steakhouse. The timing was perfect and Brian was recruited to help with the opening and subsequently landed the position as General Manager.