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Memphis Garrett

Founder & CEO

Hospitality powerhouse Memphis Garrett has opened close to 40 restaurants and nightclubs throughout his career and is responsible for launching some of South Florida’s most acclaimed food and beverage concepts. His company, Garrett Hospitality Group, has earned acclaim for its multiple dining and cocktail concepts including Ya Mas!, No Man’s Land, Point Break and Blue Wave Sushi in South Florida, as well as Lady May in Chicago.

After placing as the runner-up in the CBS competition Big Brother in 2008, Garrett decided that his passion was in hospitality. He started as a busser at Sam Nazarian’s first club in Los Angeles and worked his way up the ranks, ultimately becoming Nazarian’s go-to operator for all new projects. Under the SBE and SLS flags, Garrett has developed, opened, and managed over 18 venues in L.A., Las Vegas, and South Florida.

In 2016, Garrett assembled an all-star roster of professionals to open The Poke House; one of Fort Lauderdale’s first eateries to focus solely on the traditional Hawaiian dish. Known for its casual surfing vibe, fresh ingredients and affordable price point, The Poke House quickly became a go-to destination for locals and visitors alike.
With his exceptional business acumen and a keen eye for neighborhood development, in 2018, Garrett opened JB & C juice bar and café in Flagler Village – once a dilapidated warehouse district that was being redeveloped into a dining and entertainment district. Once again Garrett’s hospitality savvy served him well and the wellness-oriented restaurant became a hit.

A year later, Garrett was tapped to open The Dalmar, a Tribute Portfolio hotel in downtown Fort Lauderdale. As Director of Food & Beverage, he was responsible for opening the property’s five culinary and entertainment concepts, as well as overseeing all operations and hiring. From there, Garrett took a position to open Joia Beach, a stunning European-inspired restaurant and beach club on Watson Island in Miami, where he once again assembled a talented team of lauded Chefs and bartenders to open what quickly became a celebrity and foodie magnet.

During the 2020 pandemic, Garrett returned to the small screen for Big Brother: All Stars where he spent three months filming. Upon returning to South Florida, Garrett conceptualized several new dining and entertainment concepts: No Man’s Land cocktail lounge and eatery; Ya Mas! Mediterranean taverna on Fort Lauderdale’s swanky Las Olas Boulevard; Point Break in Fort Lauderdale and Plantation; and Lady May, a southern coastal restaurant and cocktail parlor in Chicago’s River North neighborhood. In 2023, Garrett will open additional outposts of Ya Mas! in Palm Beach and in Memphis, Tennessee. Never content to rest on his laurels, Garrett continues to redefine the hospitality landscape with creative out-of-the-box concepts, and has no plans of slowing down.

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Susan Smith

Director of Human Resources and Special Projects

Susan Smith is Director of Human Resources and Special Projects for Garret Hospitality Group (GHG).

Smith is a results oriented operations professional with 27 years of experience.  With her (BS UM) Bachelor of Science in Hospitality Management from Eastern Michigan University, Smith cultivated her hospitality skills through different positions in Michigan Hotels and Casinos.

She is experienced in fast-paced, high-tech environments requiring expertise in production scheduling, quality management, team building, training, cost control and troubleshooting.

Smith was thrilled to accept a position at Garrett Hospitality Group. As Administrations and Human Resources Manager, she is a dedicated team leader who builds and motivates teams that consistently exceed production goals to ensure GHG continues to maintain the highest standard of service.

Diedre Burks

Director of Operations

Born and raised in the bustling city of Los Angeles, California, Diedre’s journey into the world of hospitality began at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Downtown Los Angeles. Here she honed her craft and discovered her passion for mixology.

Diedre’s career continued to soar as she embarked on a remarkable adventure with the opening of The Standard Hotel in Los Angeles, rising to a management position in Hollywood, California. After two years, her talents drew the attention of SBE, a dynamic nightlife and hotel hospitality group.

For the next five years, Diedre was an integral part of the Katsuya family, working under the culinary expertise of Chef Katsuya Uechi. It was during this time that she fine-tuned her skills and gained invaluable experience. This journey ultimately led her to the vibrant culinary scene of Miami Beach, where she had the privilege of opening Cleo, a Mediterranean concept by Chef Danny Elmaleh. For a span of three years, she excelled in her role as Assistant General Manager.

With her reputation for excellence firmly established, Diedre took on the role of General Manager at Cecconi’s Italian restaurant within the renowned SOHO House Hotel. Her dedication and expertise continued to shine, and her next venture was nothing short of monumental—the opening of The Guitar Hotel, in Hollywood, Florida. Here, she took charge as General Manager of Kuro, a luxurious Japanese restaurant conceptualized by Chef Alex Becker. Managing the synergy of fine dining, gaming, entertainment, and hospitality within one roof was an exhilarating challenge that she embraced with open arms.

In June 2022, Diedre Burks joined forces with Memphis Garrett, the visionary Founder & CEO of Garrett Hospitality, as the General Manager at Ya Mas! Taverna in Fort Lauderdale. Located on legendary Las Olas Boulevard, Ya Mas! Taverna beckons you to rediscover the essence of Mediterranean dining, infused with a modern twist.

Diedre’s journey through the world of hospitality is a testament to her unwavering dedication, exceptional leadership, and unbridled passion for creating unforgettable guest experiences. Her expertise is now a driving force where she continues to elevate the dining experience under the Garrett Hospitality umbrella as Director of Operations.

Gastón Campana

Executive Chef

With over 15 years of experience in the culinary industry, Gastón Campana brings his passion for food and service as the Executive Chef of Ya Mas! Taverna, Garrett Hospitality Group’s chic, Mediterranean taverna on Fort Lauderdale’s bustling Las Olas Boulevard. In this role, he oversees menu development and implements and manages all back of house operations. Inspired by the cultures and cuisines he’s encountered during his global travels and job postings, Gastón works closely with Garrett Hospitality’s Owner/CEO Memphis Garrett to create and deliver superb cuisine with unique flavors.

A native of Buenos Aires with an Italian background, Gastón’s culinary career began in 2004. At the age of 22, he moved to Madrid, Spain to serve as sous chef of ØLSEN By German Martitegui. Gastón held this role until 2007 prior to landing a position in Trier, Germany as the chef de cuisine of Rossini Italian Restaurant. In 2009, Gastón’s professional journey led him back to Spain when he came onboard as the executive chef of Sa Punta Restaurant in Ibiza. Prior to arriving in South Florida, Gastón traversed the globe, cooking his way across Argentina, Spain, Thailand, Germany and most recently, Turks & Caicos. The Michelin trained chef earned a wealth of experience during his travels and among the highlights on his European path, he worked at The Hard Rock Hotel in Ibiza at Paco Roncero’s Michelin-starred Sublimotion.

Gastón became a Florida resident in 2015 when he moved overseas to work as a chef at Valentino Cucina Italiana by Giovanni Rocchio in Fort Lauderdale, as well as notable South Florida local favorites including StripSteak by Michael Mina and Scarpetta by Scott Conant at Fontainebleau Miami Beach, and The Terrace Grill at The Dalmar Hotel, which is where he met Memphis Garrett in 2019.

Chelsea Bressler

Director of Marketing

Chelsea Bressler is Director of Marketing for Garrett Hospitality Group (GHG).

Growing up in Dartmouth, Massachusetts, Bressler spent her formative years in various hospitality positions including an Italian pizzeria and popular seafood restaurant, The Back Eddy.

In 2004, Bressler left Massachusetts for the Sunshine State where she studied business, fashion design and marketing at the Art Institute of Florida. While working as a brand ambassador for top spirit brands at TEAM Enterprises, Chelsea began bartending at Blue Martini Lounge. Noticing her capabilities and talent, Blue Martini’s Operating Partners tapped Chelsea to serve in a variety of roles including Social Media Marketing Manager, Operations Manager, Corporate Events Manager and Digital Marketing Manager. In her various positions, Chelsea’s responsibilities ran the gamut from talent recruitment and training to cocktail development and event management.

Realizing her true passion lay in digital marketing, in 2019, Bressler spearheaded and launched her own digital marketing consulting business where she managed social media channels for a variety of South Florida clients, including hospitality powerhouse Memphis Garrett, owner and CEO of Garrett Hospitality Group. Once again, Bressler exceeded client expectations and recently accepted a position as Marketing Manager at GHG, where she is responsible for handling all day-to-day digital marketing needs for the burgeoning hospitality company.

Interviews and images are available upon request.

Media Contacts:

Lauren Busch/Marel Hinners

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