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avatar for Erik Oberholtzer

Erik Oberholtzer

Erik Oberholtzer co-founded Tender Greens as a single restaurant in Culver City, CA in 2006.
Today he acts as CEO of the growing restaurant group. A Chez Panisse alum of the original
slow-food movement, Erik was working as Executive Chef at Shutters on the Beach in Santa
Monica, with co-founders David Dressler and Matt Lyman, when they had the idea for Tender
Greens. They were frustrated that on their days off, they couldn't afford to eat at the type of
restaurants that served the quality food they had been accustomed to cooking. They recognized
a lack of available and affordable options for good, real and whole food. The trio decided to start
their own restaurant to meet this need and "democratize" fine dining, making it delicious,
healthy, seasonal and sustainable at a price that is accessible, every day.
A thought-leader in work and life, Erik's passion for incubating meaningful ideas has led to a
number of innovative programs that are part of Tender Greens' DNA. His personal values truly
permeate throughout the Tender Greens brand, ranging from urban farming partners (StubHub
Center, Gotham Greens, Local Roots), building relationships with trusted farmers and purveyors
who champion responsible sourcing practices, his commitment to foster youth through TG's
Sustainable Life Project , a culinary internship program at Tender Greens that has graduated
over 35 students, and more.
Erik grew up in Kutztown, Pennsylvania, and completed his undergraduate degrees in
psychology and culinary arts at Temple University in Pennsylvania and Johnson & Wales in
Rhode Island, respectively. Prior to Tender Greens, Erik spent over a decade working as a chef
in some of the best restaurants in the world, including Bradley Ogden's The Lark Creek Inn,
Alice Waters' Chez Panisse, Aqua with Michael Mina, Roland Passot's Left Bank, Campton
Place Hotel, the historic Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Hawaii, and Shutters on the Beach in Santa
Monica. Today he lives in Venice, CA, but has temporarily relocated to NYC as Tender Greens
expands on the East Coast. Erik is a wellness enthusiast and an avid participant in
transcendental meditation, which he has practiced twice-a-day, every day since his sophomore
year in college.