Kathy Sidell is President and Founder of The Metropolitan Restaurant Group, one of the most well-respected hospitality brands in New England. With restaurant locations from Boston to Nantucket, Sidell grew up in a family passionate about food. Mealtimes in her home were about discussing, evaluating, even obsessing over food and drink. Her Father, Jack Sidell, a notable Boston businessman, financed and launched the careers of many successful chefs among whom include, Todd English and Jasper White. Jack instilled in both Kathy and her sister, Stephanie Sokolove, owner of Stephanie's on Newbury, a love for global cuisine. With such a profound legacy, it was no surprise Kathy says, “For as long as I can remember, I‘ve always wanted to open a restaurant.”
Prior to making the transition into the hospitality industry, Kathy attended Columbia film school in the late 1970’s; and first tapped into her entrepreneurial spirit in the early 1970's, when she became a founding partner at Chelsea Pictures, a renowned commercial production company. With offices in New York, Los Angeles and Boston, Kathy's company produced the acclaimed documentary, Fast, Cheap and Out of Control as well as thousands of award-winning commercials working hand-in-hand with some of the largest advertising agencies in the country including Hill Holiday, Ogilvy & Mather and MullenLowe creating commercials for key American brands such as Budweiser, Rolling Rock, Coca-Cola, Volvo and Timberland to name a few.
The time eventually came for Kathy to put her editing and creative skills to work in the kitchen. In 2004 Kathy took the leap when she opened her first location The Metropolitan Club in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts which was an intimate modern steakhouse that featured traditional classics presented with a modern twist. “There are great parallels between launching a restaurant and making a film,” said Kathy. “As a producer, you have to assemble a gifted team, a cast and crew consisting of polished professionals who are brilliant at what they do. I take the same approach in building my restaurants, bringing together a talented cast of people who are passionate enough to put on a first-class show.”
Kathy has been recognized for her foresightedness in identifying new concepts and culinary trends and introducing them to Boston. She followed up her success of the Metropolitan Club by opening two suburban locations of the more casual MET Bar & Grill concept. The MET Bar & Grill locations offer an inviting atmosphere featuring fresh, high quality sandwiches, salads, entrees and are complete with a Burger Bar. The MET Burger Bars were the first Burger Bars in the area and include more than 30 varieties of burgers, with international and continental toppings. In 2016 Kathy’s “The Jacques Burger,” which paid homage to her late father, won Red Robin's “Best of the Bash” Award at the 2016 Amstel Light Burger Bash® in Miami Beach as part of the Food Network & Cooking Channel South Beach Wine & Food Festival presented by FOOD & WINE.
In October 2010, Kathy opened MET Back Bay, on Boston’s most notable street, the corner of Newbury and Dartmouth Streets. MET Back Bay is housed in a stunning historic brownstone. Her 40 seat bar has Boston’s first all American Artisanal Ham and Cheese Bar.
Kathy opened MET on MAIN on Nantucket’s Main Street in June 2012. The location was also once home to the Sweet Shop where Kathy held her very first job. MET on MAIN is an American café with island flair that focuses on simply grilled and creatively prepared dishes using only the highest quality ingredients available.
In 2016, Kathy opened her newest concept, Saltie Girl, an intimate 30 seat seafood bar nestled next to MET Back Bay. Saltie Girl focuses on globally sustainable iterations of fresh fish & seafood be it fried, sautéed, raw, house-potted, smoked or in the largest tinned seafood collection in New England.
Kathy debuted her first book, WHEN I MET FOOD, Living the American Restaurant Dream, on November 20th, 2012. WHEN I MET FOOD chronicles Kathy’s life and restaurant adventures, from how she selected her first location to the careful branding decisions required to building a highly successful restaurant enterprise in metropolitan Boston. Kathy is also a regular contributor to The Boston Herald writing on the subject of FOOD.
Whether she’s producing a movie, planning a new restaurant concept, writing a column, blog or book, Kathy continues to add to the rich tapestry that is her family’s legacy of changing the creative landscape.
With behind the camera knowledge and forward facing camera chops, Kathy Sidell has been featured on the Food Network, NBC, ABC, Bravo, The CBS Morning Show and numerous other broadcast segments. Sidell is an excellent radio guest and has been featured in print, and is also a contributing writer to several publications.