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Jeremy Merrin

Founder and Managing Member

Havana Central

Direct Phone: (212) ***-**** ext. ***       

Email: j***@***.com

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Havana Central

151 West 46Th Street

New York, New York 10036

United States

Company Description

Havana Central evokes the 1950s golden era of Cuba, capturing Havana's heyday as the world's most tantalizing playground. Through its festive ambiance, vibrant decor and mouth-watering food, dining at Havana Central is like taking a mini vacation. Executi ... more

Find other employees at this company (76)

Background Information


Board Member
New York State Restaurant Association

Board Member
Affiniscape Inc



Tufts University



Columbia University

Web References (66 Total References)

Why she’s hungry | hungry sofia

hungrysofia.com [cached]

Jeremy Merrin #

Sofia, I am Jeremy Merrin, owner of the Havana Central Restaurants.
Jeremy Merrin #
My name is Jeremy Merrin and I am the owner of the Havana Central restaurants.

Desserts may be the most popular ...

nrn.com [cached]

Desserts may be the most popular uses for coffee as an ingredient, says Jeremy Merrin, owner of Havana Central restaurant in New York. The Cuban restaurant's dessert menu has included coffee flan and assogado - shots of espresso poured over vanilla ice cream. For holidays, the restaurant offers a coffee meringue.

"It has always been a good combination - the bitter with the sweet," Merrin says.

Jeremy Merrin - Havana Central Restaurant and Bar

havanacentral.com [cached]

Jeremy Merrin

Jeremy Merrin
Founder / President Who would have thought that a Jewish guy from the Upper West Side of Manhattan would be the successful brainchild behind Havana Central - New York City's home of authentic Cuban cuisine?
Jeremy Merrin, Havana Central Founder and President, opened his first restaurant in 2002 and now operates two high-volume locations, each with its own unique personality and distinct clientele. Each restaurant evokes the golden era of Cuba, capturing Havana's heyday as the world's most tantalizing playground. Stepping into any one of the lush restaurants outfitted with swanky 1950s décor, guests are transported to another place and time.
Jeremy attributes the spark of inspiration that led to the development of Havana Central to a life-long love of Latin food combined with a childhood infatuation with a school classmate from Cuba. Reuniting with old friends at his 25th high school reunion, he was brought face-to-face with his former classmate. "When I told her I had become a Cuban food fiend, a regular at a place near my home, she laughed and told me I needed to try some real Cuban cooking-her mother's," recalls Jeremy.
During a subsequent dinner prepared by his friend's mother, Jeremy realized he had never tasted such richly satisfying Cuban fare at his neighborhood restaurant, nor had he been exposed to the authentic culture of Cuba. It was obvious to him that the quality of Cuban dining opportunities in New York was inadequate and the market was underserved. Most Cuban restaurants in the area were storefront, family operations. Jeremy, who had a history of successful entrepreneurship, sensed opportunity.
Jeremy pursued a hunch honed by more than 20 years of hands-on business development experience. Following graduation from Tufts University in 1980, he led the mail order operation of his family's jewelry business, one of the country's largest, and a pioneer in the sale of jewelry by mail. An interest in entrepreneurial ventures soon surfaced. "I found the family business heavy-lifting and realized that I needed to do something I could call my own."
Applying valuable development experience from his family business, Jeremy founded a fine jewelry design and manufacturing firm, Ardian Corp. This innovative new venture earned an international reputation for the creation of trendsetting styles, and in 1997 he sold the company for a considerable return on his investment.
On the heels of the successful sale of his first business and at the height of the Internet boom, Jeremy became intrigued by increasing opportunities in online ventures. After thorough research, he came to the conclusion that a party and paper goods business was a great vehicle for a Web-based business. Rather than start his own company, he joined iParty.com as senior vice president for business development and marketing. During this time, Jeremy returned to school and earned an MBA at Columbia University. Following the success of this thriving virtual emporium, and an even more successful combination brick-and-mortar retail unit, Jeremy was a man looking for a new project when he attended his high school reunion.
"I never imagined myself in the restaurant business, but identifying an opportunity that addressed a specific niche market - Cuban - that could be properly defined with a truly unique and immersive experience really intrigued me."
However intriguing, Jeremy knew nothing about the restaurant business and decided he needed a quick education and expert help.
For Jeremy, it was like discovering a vast extended family in his customers and staff, putting the fun back in his professional life. He firmly believes that in order to offer the best experience to his customers, his staff must be well-trained and happy.
From the beginning, Jeremy made the commitment to operate the Havana Central restaurants based on analytics. All of the restaurants utilize a sophisticated point of sale and inventory system that relays real time sales and cost figures, as well as analyzes details such as percentage tip comparisons among the servers. Additional features allow him to calculate inventory usage of each menu item by hour and day of the week. This attention to detail is responsible for setting Havana Central apart from its competitors and other restaurants.
Jeremy believes that the life of every guest should be enhanced from the moment they enter a restaurant until the time of their departure.
"At Havana Central, we transport our guests to pre-revolution Cuba, with a total environment that evokes images of the Havana of the 50s. It's not just the food, but the staff, the colors on the walls, the furniture, the music, even the tableware and the way the food is served, contribute to the overall positive experience."
In fact, Jeremy maintains what he has dubbed the 'Cuban Cabinet.' This advisory board is comprised of specialists with individual areas of expertise-cuisine, décor, music, artwork, etc.-with whom he checks in regularly to make sure Havana Central keeps the experience real.
Jeremy's painstaking attention to detail and passionate commitment to authenticity clearly resonate with patrons of Havana Central, whatever their ethnicity. When he's asked if he is Cuban, he often replies, "No, but I plan to convert soon!"
Our Team Jeremy Merrin
Jeremy Merrin
Founder / President

Columbia Business School Alumni Club of New York - SOCIAL MEDIA FOR BUSINESS & ENTREPRENEURSHIP

www.cbsacny.org [cached]

Jeremy Merrin, EMBA '00 is the Founder & CEO of Havana Central ( www.havanacentral.com). One of the locations of this Cuban restaurant chain was formerly known as the West End Gate, a landmark bar/restaurant and still a meeting place for many Columbia students. Prior to becoming an entrepreneur he was Executive VP of Business Development at iParty.com.

Jeremy Merrin, owner of ...

www.nysra.org [cached]

Jeremy Merrin, owner of Havana Central and the Association's dynamic Vice-President of NYC Chapter Board, helped kick-off the first neighborhood-focused networking event right in the center of New York City - Times Square.

The focal point came at the second half of the night when Jeremy and The Association's, NYC Counsel, James Versocki, gathered attendees to discuss and brainstorm solutions for some of the industry’s most pressing issues.

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