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How I Roll: Restaurateur and author Danny Meyer

March 08, 2020
5 min read
How I Roll: Restaurateur and author Danny Meyer
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Welcome to How I Roll, TPG’s airport routine series, covering everything from how jet-setters prep for a trip to what they wear on the plane.

We sat down with Danny Meyer, whose restaurant group, Union Square Hospitality Group (USHG), comprises some of New York’s most beloved and acclaimed restaurants. His groundbreaking business book, Setting the Table, is a New York Times Bestseller. Meyer, who has been on TIME's 100 “Most Influential People” list, lives in New York City with his wife and four children.

If you’ve ever found yourself indulging in Shake Shack for breakfast at JFK or LAX, or considered the food choices on board your Delta flight to be exceptional, you have Meyer to thank. His USHG partnered with the airline in 2016 to revamp the onboard menus on select routes.

You can catch him on an episode of Talking Points, chatting all things travel, tipping and more.

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The itinerary

DM: I go to the West Coast a few times a year, often to get inspiration. It’s always business and pleasure wrapped into one!

Predeparture prep

TPG: What does you pre-travel to-do list entail?

DM: I like to get one last workout in and organize my to-do list so that I can make calls while waiting in the Delta Sky Club lounge.

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TPG: Do you have any must-do activities around the house before leaving?

DM: Take my dogs, Louie and Wally, out for one last spin around the neighborhood. I owe that to them and to everyone else in the family!

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Packing strategy

TPG: Do you pack ahead of time, or wait until the last second?

DM: I generally pack the night before a trip, but I’ll have already put together a mental list into what kind of clothing I’ll need for the purpose of my travel.

TPG: Are you an over or under packer?

DM: Strategic light packer.

TPG: What kind of suitcase do you carry?

DM: Usually just a shoulder bag if I can swing it.

TPG: What are your carry-on essentials?

DM: iPad, phone, Powerbeats, Warby Parker reading glasses, and several phone chargers. And a prayer that the in-flight Wi-Fi is working!

TPG: Do you carry-on or check your luggage?

DM: Carry-on, whenever humanly possible.

TPG: What’s your go-to travel outfit?

DM: Allbirds, jeans, a fleece vest. I like pockets and layers.

Before boarding

TPG: Do you get to the airport early or with just enough time to spare?

DM: If it’s just me, then I go really early. I love having time to make phone calls, write emails and read. I also love checking out food options to keep up with good ideas. And I don’t enjoy the stress of running late. If I am traveling with family, we don’t go quite as early since they don’t enjoy airports as much as I do.

TPG: How do you kill any extra time at the airport?

DM: I’ll head to the lounge to catch up on work, or if I’m lucky enough to be at an airport with a Shake Shack, I’ll always go say hi to the team there.

TPG: What preflight snacks, if any, do you stock up on?

DM: If I am headed to the airport from home, then I’ll usually stop into Daily Provisions for my favorite cappuccino. If I don’t have time, then it’s usually a light bite in the lounge. I mostly fly Delta, and rarely leave their flights feeling hungry.

In-flight routine

TPG: What’s your preferred seat on a plane — window or aisle?

DM: Aisle.

TPG: What’s your go-to in-flight beverage?

DM: Water with no ice.

TPG: Would you rather work or relax during the flight?

DM: Long flights are an opportunity to quietly get work down without interruptions, which in itself is more relaxing than my average day. Sadly, I’m one of the worst plane sleepers. I covet the time alone to read and to write. I also multitask by catching up on podcasts.

TPG: What’s your IFE guilty pleasure?

DM: Playing Lexulous – an online word game. I usually have three games going at once.

Everything else

TPG: Overall, do you enjoy traveling?

DM: YES! The joy and discovery I get from travel, especially understanding and learning about other people and cultures through how they eat fulfills me.

TPG: How often are you on the road?

DM: On average, I’m on the road about a week of each month.

TPG: Any travel pearls of wisdom or hacks?

DM: Clear and Global Entry -- anything to speed your way through security.

Read more: How I Roll: Samantha Brown, Emmy-winning TV Host

Editor’s note: This interview has been lightly edited for length and clarity.

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Best for the well-traveled foodie
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4 / 5
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There's a lot to love about the Amex Gold card. It's been a fan favorite during the pandemic because of its fantastic rewards rate on restaurants (that includes takeout and delivery in the U.S.!) and U.S. supermarkets. If you're hitting the skies soon, you'll also earn bonus points on travel. Paired with up to $120 in Uber Cash (for U.S. Uber rides or Uber Eats orders) and up to $120 in annual dining statement credits at eligible partners, there's no reason that the foodie shouldn't add this card to their wallet. Enrollment required.

Pros

  • 4x on dining at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets (on the first $25,000 in purchases per calendar year; then 1x)
  • 3x on flights booked directly with the airline or with Amex Travel
  • Welcome bonus of 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first six months

Cons

  • Weak on travel outside of flights and everyday spending bonus categories
  • Not as useful for those living outside the U.S.
  • Some may have trouble using Uber/food credits
  • Few travel perks and protections
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
  • $120 Dining Credit: Satisfy your cravings and earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express® Gold Card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment required.
  • Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Apply for American Express® Gold Card
at American Express's secure site
Terms & restrictions apply. See rates & fees
Best for the well-traveled foodie
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.
4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
3XEarn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.

    60,000 bonus points
  • Annual Fee

    $250
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Excellent/Good

Why We Chose It

There's a lot to love about the Amex Gold card. It's been a fan favorite during the pandemic because of its fantastic rewards rate on restaurants (that includes takeout and delivery in the U.S.!) and U.S. supermarkets. If you're hitting the skies soon, you'll also earn bonus points on travel. Paired with up to $120 in Uber Cash (for U.S. Uber rides or Uber Eats orders) and up to $120 in annual dining statement credits at eligible partners, there's no reason that the foodie shouldn't add this card to their wallet. Enrollment required.

Pros

  • 4x on dining at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets (on the first $25,000 in purchases per calendar year; then 1x)
  • 3x on flights booked directly with the airline or with Amex Travel
  • Welcome bonus of 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first six months

Cons

  • Weak on travel outside of flights and everyday spending bonus categories
  • Not as useful for those living outside the U.S.
  • Some may have trouble using Uber/food credits
  • Few travel perks and protections
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
  • $120 Dining Credit: Satisfy your cravings and earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express® Gold Card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment required.
  • Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees