Andy Pforzheimer is the co-founder and former CEO of Barteca Restaurant Group and its two concepts, Barcelona Wine Bar and Restaurant and bartaco. A restaurant professional for 38 years, Mr. Pforzheimer became interested in the industry as a teenager, and began his career washing dishes and microwaving Mexican fast food. He took it up a notch two years into college, when he took time off from attending Harvard University to live in France and serve a classic two-year apprenticeship in Burgundy. Upon returning to the U.S., he worked in kitchens across America under numerous notable chefs, including Jeremiah Tower at Stars in San Francisco, CA; Anne Rosenzweig at both Arcadia and the “21” Club in New York City; and Patrick Healy at Colette in Los Angeles, CA. He eventually moved to Connecticut, where he was the original food editor for Martha Stewart Living magazine.
Mr. Pforzheimer eventually started his own catering and consulting business, which is how he met his Barteca partner, Sasa Mahr-Batuz, who presented him with the idea of opening a tapas restaurant. The two opened the first Barcelona Wine Bar location in 1996, featuring the most authentically Mediterranean dishes they could create with what was available in suburbs then. One Barcelona became six, as they grew throughout the state one small restaurant at a time. In 2010, the pair started a new taqueria concept, bartaco, serving upscale street food with a coastal beach vibe. Two years later, they took on a partner in Hal Rosser and Rosser Capital, and began opening restaurants further from home. Today, they operate a combined 35 Barcelonas and bartacos in 15 states.
Having stepped down as CEO in 2016, Andy Pforzheimer fills his time by continuing to supervise the restaurants’ real-estate selection; serving on the boards of US Foods and Hickory Tavern, and the Education Policy Committee of the CIA; teaching restaurant entrepreneurship and management at the Institute for Culinary Education; traveling with his wife, Zelie; and getting in as much fishing as he can. He is the proud father of three boys, two of whom are partners in a start-up mushroom farming business in Martha’s Vineyard.