The Mothersauce Team
Nick followed his heart (and stomach) into the restaurant business early on. He has spent over 20 years working in a multitude of capacities, leading concepts from ideas on paper to thriving businesses. From a top franchise (Five Guys) to a farm-to-table restaurant (Eventide), to a high-volume iconic bar (Spider Kelly’s) and more, Nick has demonstrated success in many different areas.
Nick frequently works with other investors, venture capitalists and lenders to change the way investing in food and drink is done.
As a forward thinker and voice for the industry, Nick understands that without talented, passionate people, the industry will not survive. As board chairman at La Cocina VA, a dynamic non-profit dedicated to workforce development through a culinary training program and small business incubator, Nick works to strengthen the industry at its foundation by helping La Cocina VA create valuable workers for an industry that is desperate for it, while providing safe, stable and rewarding employment for those who have long been unemployed or underemployed.
Nick lives in Arlington, VA with his wife and daughter. And a bunny and a cat.
Adam D. Stein
Adam Stein is the Founder and Managing Partner of Bar Elena, The Eleanor DC, and the of the forthcoming second location of The Eleanor in Silver Spring, MD. He is also an in-demand consultant providing services to a number of clients in the Washington, DC area.
A dynamic and seasoned veteran of the industry, Adam brings a skill set to projects that is unmatched in the industry. Chef, owner, general contractor, designer - just a few of the hats that he wears and the resources he can bring to bear.
A liberal arts degree from Antioch College and a culinary degree from Johnson & Wales gave Adam the educational foundation to dive headfirst into his passion: food. He has twenty years of experience in the business with more than ten years as an executive chef. He is particularly skilled at restaurant openings, with more than 16 project launches over the course of his career.
Adam also brings eight years of hands-on general contracting experience, which helps him see a restaurant through design and construction and offers him the ability to act as project manager, and even does the finish work on some projects himself. Given the frequent challenges in restaurant construction, this is a uniquely valuable asset.
Over his career, Adam has built an extensive network of valuable connections from construction, maintenance, food and beverage purveyors and equipment suppliers, to architects, PR reps, and graphic designers. He has strong ties to the DC bar and restaurant scene as well as with restaurant press, blogs and business organizations.
Erika is a dynamic marketing and new media professional who is passionate about leveraging the power of compelling content to tell a story. She has more than ten years of experience developing digital strategies and producing content for websites, print, and social media to help her clients build brand awareness and boost brand loyalty.
As a full-stack marketer, Erika has working knowledge of the modern marketing tactics needed to create and execute integrated growth strategies, including branding, design, copywriting, social media, email marketing, PR, web development, and digital advertising. She delivers creative, effective solutions supported by a clear understanding of the intersection of business, marketing, journalism, and technology.
Erika has worked with a wide variety of clients from start-ups and small businesses to global organizations like 7-Eleven, Starbucks, XM Radio, and Sprint. She was selected by Social Media Today as a featured contributor on social video strategy and her clients have been featured in The Washington Post, The Washingtonian, SELF Magazine, MSNBC, Zagat, and more. She currently advises more than a dozen successful brands on marketing, digital media, and PR.
Her specialty—and her passion—is in food and restaurants, where she has established herself as the go-to resource for concepts looking to make an impact and tell their story.
A 20-year veteran of the industry, Gillian brings wisdom to her passion for food and drink. She is comfortable in the kitchen but serves as a true leader in the front of the house and in upper level restaurant management. As an accomplished team leader, she demonstrates a high level of emotional intelligence that is critical in building and maintaining calm, high-functioning teams in work environments that are often fraught with stress. Her people skills extend beyond the dining rooms where she is adept at networking and creating relationships with vendors, peers and investors. Her technical savvy allows her to network virtually and establish and enhance a concept’s branding, social media reach, customer database and e-mail outreach.
Gillian has significant and demonstrated experience building the backbones of restaurant operations—costed schedules, inventory and ordering spreadsheets, wine lists, menus and training guides. However, her educational background in fine arts is evident in her excellent design aesthetic and ability to work with owners and designers to create spaces that are beautiful while still highly functional.
Al Di Leonardo
Al Di Leonardo is an experienced intelligence and special operations officer who utilized his military training to successfully found and sell two companies in the private and public marketplaces. As a U.S. Army veteran he earned the Bronze Star Medal from U.S. Special Operations Command for his work in Afghanistan and Iraq. Yet, Al is more widely recognized as a subject matter expert in analytical tradecraft, and as entrepreneur with expertise, vision, and leadership at the intersection of big data, analytics, and geography.
Post sale of two companies, he has been supporting industry-focused nonprofits in data analytics, geography, and special operations. He also helped found and partner The Boundary Group, a private equity firm, and found Black Cape, a software services company, while also joining Mothersauce Partners restaurant group.
Craig actively invests in technology start-ups, many of which are founded by military veteran entrepreneurs, through his venture capital firm, Moonshots Capital, which he co-founded with Kelly Perdew.
Craig is the Co-Founder and former Chief Operating Officer of RideScout, a mobile app that showed users how to get from point A to point B by providing real-time ground transportation information. RideScout was acquired by Daimler (Mercedes-Benz) in September 2014.
Before he became an entrepreneur, Craig spent 17 years in the Army, most of that time as an Intelligence Officer serving in support of the National Security Agency (NSA). Craig deployed to Afghanistan with the Joint Special Operations Command where he earned the Bronze Star. He also served as an Assistant Professor of Political Science in the Department of Social Sciences at West Point, NY. Craig received a B.S. in Political Science from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, where he was their first Truman Scholar, and he received a Ph.D. in Political Science (minor: Econometrics) from Columbia University. In 2015, Craig was selected by HillVets as one of the 100 most influential and impactful veterans in the United States and, in 2016, Inc. Magazine named him as one of the Top 20 Military Veteran Entrepreneurs in the US. Craig is a member of the 2016 Class of Henry Crown Fellows with the Aspen Institute. Craig is married to Lawton Cummings, the Executive Director of the Austin100. They have two children, Addison (16) and Cooper (14), and reside in Austin, TX.