Santiago Perez - The Restaurateur Who Is Changing the Evolution Of Restaurants

he hospitality industry is full of competition - with almost every corner roosting a restaurant, making a name for yourself in the ever-growing industry can be tough.

But Santiago Perez’s restaurants are certainly not your typical restaurants. Perez has built an impeccable reputation for himself and his establishments. He began with a plan for longevity - and the intention to build a legacy.

“I never really started thinking about opening one restaurant,” Perez says. “I always had the idea of building a business and using the first restaurant as a platform that could serve as the initial stepping stone to showcase Mexican cuisine.”

With the opening of his first high-end restaurant in New York - Cosme (in 2015), Perez strategically developed his business with plans of opening up not just one restaurant, but an array of high-end restaurants - nationally.

Cosme and ATLA are Perez’s two established New York restaurants - and he has two more opening this year. Elio - at the Wynn in Las Vegas and Damian - in Los Angeles.

Perez is someone who focuses on the bigger picture - “the long term plan”. The Mexico native is forever committed to making decisions that will benefit the future of his company and its employees. Cosme, for example , began when Perez, and architect/longtime friend Alonso de Garay, saw an opportunity to share their nationality within America’s biggest cities. They wanted to develop a concept that would attract an array of “tastes” - not just those seeking a Mexican food experience.

“For so long, Mexican food has been considered cheap or unhealthy,” Perez says. “But, there’s so much more to it. We wanted to show the richness and depth of the culture.”

Although Perez’s establishments are not technically defined as “Mexican,” they are certainly inspired by the essence of the beautiful country’s culture. Perez guarantees this with the relationships that they have formed with their Mexican ingredient suppliers.

Thanks to his devoted sources, each restaurant’s food has undeniably got a true Mexican essence. Quality is a key priority. Each ingredient has been chosen from its best producing areas of Mexico - and even in an industry of fast casual dining where it is difficult to consistently maintain quality, Perez’s long-standing relationships have ensured the absolute highest of quality regardless of that.

“I think we’ve focused on building the right relationships with suppliers, which will help us expand.,” Perez says.

It may be hard to believe, considering his success in the industry of food - but Perez never worked in a restaurant, nor did he study hospitality in college - but he continues to break down the barriers of traditional restaurant development. Proving there is not ever only one way to be successful in the industry.

With a strong background in numbers and finance, Perez now proudly approaches the hospitality industry with a fresh, new perspective. As he questions and discovers the “usual” ways of the intense industry, Perez remains focused on finding new and exciting ways to effectively disrupt the restaurant world with his remarkable approach.