Chef Christopher Lee
A nationally recognized culinary talent, Chef Christopher Lee left his position as executive chef at New York City landmark Aureole to return to his hometown of Huntington, Long Island and open Huntington Social. Chef Lee is a winner of the 2005 “Rising Star Chef” Award from the James Beard Foundation and is regarded as among the nation’s most gifted chefs. Prior to his work at Aureole, Chef Lee oversaw the kitchen at another Manhattan stalwart, Gilt, at the New York Palace Hotel, where he earned two Michelin stars. He has also worked as executive chef at Philadelphia’s beloved Striped Bass, where he earned a coveted “Four Bells” review from The Philadelphia Inquirer, a designation held by only two to four restaurants in the city at any given time. Chef Lee appeared on the inaugural season of Bravo’s wildly popular Top Chef Masters, and was named one of 2006’s “10 Best New Chefs” by Food & Wine magazine. He and the other owners of Huntington Social first worked together on Miami, FL’s Eden, a sensual, seasonal restaurant and nightlife destination.
Frank “Rocky” Bruno, Esq., Owner
The son of a local restaurateur and entrepreneur, Frank “Rocky” Bruno is a lifelong Huntington resident who has devoted himself to the town’s continued prosperity. In addition to his work as owner and in-house counsel at Huntington Social, Bruno represents numerous clients in the areas of personal injury, criminal law and divorce with respected local law firm Palermo, Palermo and Tuohy, P.C. He is also a partner is Miami’s Eden, in South Beach, and has previously owned other restaurants in the Huntington area. His family continues to own and operate local landmark Christopher’s Courtyard Café (est. 1982). He is an active member of the New York Bar, and a graduate of Villanova University and the Touro College Jacob D. Fuchsberg Law Center.
Restaurateur Larry Rizzo, Owner
A Wall Street worker turned entrepreneur, Larry Rizzo first partnered with Chef Lee and the other owners at Miami’s Eden. He is thrilled to bring his business sense and financial background to Huntington Social. Working largely as a silent partner, he brings a strong understanding of the ins and outs of financing and operations to the restaurant, creating an environment that allows culinary and hospitality professionals to create matchless experiences for their guests. Although he has been involved in the restaurant business since the mid-1990’s, when he opened his first restaurant in New York City, Huntington Social marks his first foray onto Long Island, and he is thrilled to bring world-class food and a warm, welcoming atmosphere to the town.
Investor Kevin McCaughan, Owner
Kevin McCaughan is a certified public accountant whose 13 years as vice president at a specialty pharmaceutical company make him another invaluable player in the success of Huntington Social. A graduate of Saint Joseph’s University, he began his career with accounting firm Coopers & Lybrand and has since worked his way up to Vice President at his current company. He is devoted to making Huntington Social a place where Chef Lee and Bruno can provide extraordinary customer service and top-notch food and drink for Huntington residents and their guests, just as he has at Eden in South Beach.
General Manager Jeff Ruskaup
Jeff Ruskaup has held nearly every imaginable front of house and back of house position in the restaurant industry, from his most recent role as facilities manager at Charlie Palmer’s Aureole to teaching assistant and student mentor at the Culinary Institute of America, where is he also a graduate. Ruskaup holds a B.S. in Hospitality Management from the University of Kentucky, and brings a genuine passion for guest relations to his role at Huntington Social. An avowed bourbon enthusiast and devoted professional who truly understands the meaning of “hospitality,” he looks forward to making new friends in Huntington.
Chef de Cuisine Luke Omarzu
Chef Luke Omarzu brings a clear understanding of hard work, innovation, and creativity to the kitchen of Huntington Social. He was integral part in opening the restaurant in July 2011, and having worked in the culinary industry for more than 12 years, he is a seasoned veteran who is well versed in Chef Lee’s sophisticated approach to seasonal, artistic dishes. Chef Omarzu spent 8 years working in ultra-luxury resorts in Two Harbors, Minnesota and Oahu, Hawaii before moving to New York City in 2008. He first joined Charlie Palmer’s culinary team at Metrazur in Grand Central Station, but was quickly recruited to become part of the re-launch of Palmer’s flagship restaurant, Aureole, in 2009. It was here that he first worked with Chef Lee, and under the pressure and scrutiny of opening a Michelin starred restaurant in the heart of New York City, Chef Omarzu was quickly recognized for his dedication and talent, which has led to his role as Chef de Cuisine of Huntington Social.