With Father’s Day right around the corner (happening tomorrow), it’s good to highlight stories in and around Manhattan that showcase some amazing special relationships between a father and their child. Case in point- Harry Sinanaj, one of the four owners of Ben & Jack’s Steakhouse, who has brought in his wonderful daughter Tina Sinanaj to operate their 5th Avenue location as well as oversee the construction and opening to their second location opening next month on 44th Street. Those are pretty big shoes to fill for anyone in the restaurant world, and from the looks of it, Tina seems to be doing pretty well.
Ben & Jack’s Steakhouse just so happens to be one of our favorite restaurants we have reviewed so far in 2017. One of our fantastic writers, Ryan Leeds, stopped by there back in March and raved about everything from decor to food and so much more. You can find that review here. When I found this story out regarding Harry & Tina, I knew it was something I wanted to feature on Manhattan Digest as it shows a great amount of trust and respect that a father can have for a daughter, and how this can easily be reciprocated.
I went to Ben & Jack’s Steakhouse earlier this week to meet with Tina and their amazing head chef and cousin Admir. Both have a very “all hands on deck” mentality in that they are laser focused on making this one of the best (if not best) steakhouse locations here in Manhattan, as well as the reopening of the original location this summer. I asked Tina about why she joined forces with her father from a completely different career, and what he has taught her in the process.
How long have you been in the restaurant business, in particular with Ben & Jack’s Steakhouse?
I started here full time fairly recent in January of this year. I was previously working as an analyst at UBS, and I really loved my job but I was 15 years old when the original Ben & Jack’s opened, so I’ve always been around it. I was there when my father was doing construction, so I grew up in the business. We have one of the general managers leaving and I thought, “Why not come and work hard for my own place”? So I came in, and I’m working alongside of Admir who is our GM/Executive Chef and I’m learning a lot from him. We both support my father a lot, and I am looking forward to taking that support and seeing what happens not only with this but the reopening of our original location”.
What has your father taught you about the business and how to be successful within it?
Definitely hard work and persistence, especially in a place like New York City where there are so many different options available. We treat everybody who walks through the door like family. I remember when I was younger and I would hang out at 44th Street I would see my father in his suit greeting everybody and they just loved it. They felt they were coming home. It has taught me a lot about dealing with customers and running the business, how much actually goes into it. Also, I get to work with my father, which is a blessing and like Father’s Day every day for me.
During our lunch visit, Admir and Tina provided a stellar feast for myself and my friend that day which included some delicious Shrimp Cocktail, French Onion Soup, House Salad, and their amazing Filet Mignon Sandwich served on a Baguette. This is a great location to head to, no matter what time of day, and the bond between father and daughter here just exemplifies what a great business in Manhattan is all about.
For more information on Ben & Jack’s Steakhouse, please check out their official website.