Born and raised in New York City, Michael Chernow got his start in the restaurant business at the ripe age of 13. Only a year later, he met a young Daniel Holzman, and the pair worked side by side as restaurant delivery boys. Though they soon went there separate ways, Chernow planted an idea early on that they would open a restaurant together.
Chernow transitioned from bike runs to drink slinging at New York City nightclub, Life. He learned quickly and moved up the ranks to become the youngest bartender on staff in just two years, alternating his seasons between Life and The Tavern in the Hamptons. He next signed on to launch Woo Lae Oak in the city and then took a position at the Los Angeles original in 2001. Returning to his native New York, Chernow opened Punch & Judy and then took a post behind the bar of Frank Prizanzano’s Frank on Second Avenue, where he worked for seven years and gained a large, loyal following.
Even with his success at Frank, Chernow still craved a place of his own. And to make it happen, he pursued degrees in culinary arts and restaurant management from the French Culinary Institute, graduating in 2008. Armed with a degree, he contacted his old crony, Daniel Holzman. Together, the duo formulated a fast-casual meatball concept and opened the first Meatball Shop on the Lower East Side in 2011. Today, Chernow and Holzman run four Meatball Shop locations in Manhattan and Brooklyn, and on top of building a booming meatball empire, they’re building community, souring locally, sharing their kitchens with upstart businesses, donating their time and resources to charities, and serving victims of Hurricane Sandy. In 2013, Chernow was named 2013 StarChefs.com Community Rising Star.