The Driftwood Group is Ohio’s premier restaurant and catering company. The seven award-winning restaurants, concessions and catering services, staffed by experienced and talented individuals, have helped set the bar for excellence and consistency in the culinary arts landscape of Cleveland.

THE DRIFTWOOD TEAM

SCOTT DAVID KUHN

FOUNDER + CEO

Scott David Kuhn moved to the East side of Cleveland in 1986 where he graduated from Solon High School. Following his childhood dreams, Scott attended the University of Akron’s culinary program while working in local restaurants and finished his degree in management from Malone College.

The Driftwood Restaurant Group was born with the purchase of the Allegheny Grille in the small town of Foxburg, Pennsylvania in 2005. In 2007, Scott reestablished the Welshfield Inn in Burton, Ohio and opened 87 West, located in Crocker Park in Westlake, Ohio. In 2010, Scott opened Washington Place Bistro and Inn, in Cleveland’s Little Italy neighborhood in the space where the once-famous Baricelli Inn existed. In 2012, Scott and partner, Chris Hodgson, launched Driftwood Catering. In 2013, Scott launched Cibréo Italian Kitchen, Green Rooster Farms, and Bin 216, all in Playhouse Square. Republic Food + Drink was opened in February of 2019, also in Playhouse Square. Scott and Washington Place Bistro have been featured on Food Network’s Unique Eats, which spotlights America’s most exciting and revolutionary restaurants.

Scott and driftwood consulting have advised numerous food service operations. Consulting clients include Hyland Software; Calfee, Halter, and Griswold; Kent State University; Chagrin Valley Country Club; and Cleveland Pickle amongst others.

Scott is passionately involved in volunteering and helping others. Scott is a board member of Veggie U, a program dedicated to educating fourth graders on a holistic food approach, from understanding how food is grown to developing healthy eating habits. Scott is also on multiple advisory boards for University Hospital, as well as helping many other non profit organizations through the Kuhn Family Foundation. Scott is on Kent State University’s Hospitality Programs advisory board.

Scott was named one of Cleveland Magazine’s Most Interesting People, January 2014, followed by Ernst and Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year in 2015.

Scott and his wife Amy, enjoy spending time together outdoors and watching their 2 little girls grow up one day at a time.

CHRIS HODGSON

PRESIDENT

Chris Hodgson is a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu who, inspired by the food trucks he saw while living in New York City, brought the very first food truck to the city of Cleveland in 2010. His truck, Dim and Den Sum, gained a cult following and helped pave the way for Cleveland’s food truck culture. Chris’ second truck, Hodge Podge Truck, achieved nationwide recognition when he finished second on Food Network’s The Great Food Truck Race and was featured on Food Network’s Unique Eats as well as Eat Street.

2013, Chris and partner Scott Kuhn launched Green Rooster Farms, and Green Rooster Creamery. In 2014, Bin 216, all in Playhouse Square.

Chris is also a consulting chef for the Driftwood Restaurant Group and president of Driftwood Catering. He was runner up in the Silver Spoon Awards, coming in second to celebrity chef Michael Symon. In 2012, Chris was named one of Cleveland Magazine’s Most Interesting People. In 2013, Chris was a finalist on Food Network’s Food Network Star and in 2014, named FOOD AND WINE’s People’s Best New Chef for the Great Lakes Region.

TOBY HEINTZELMAN

Operations Manager

Toby Heintzelman has 30 years of experience in the hospitality business, having been at the head of organizations such as Gamekeepers Tavern and Pickwick and Frolic.
Toby creates the Driftwood Restaurant Group’s work environment by promoting the hospitality-focused culture of the company. Always leading by example, his energy is unrivaled. Toby has a consistent, positive attitude and a unique ability personalize his teaching. Coupled with an open door policy and excellent communications skills, Toby creates an atmosphere where employees can thrive.

SHAWN TATAROWICZ

Director of Food and Beverage

Shawn Tatarowicz brings 20 years of experience to the table, managing at such locally loved places as Three Birds and Fire Food and Drink. Having his CSW and WSET, and continuing his studies in the Court of Master Sommeliers, he brings a wealth of wine and spirits knowledge with him as well.

His work ethic, strong hospitality and service skills, along with a deep commitment to the Cleveland food scene help to keep a growing company moving forward and sets a strong example for everyone around him.

CHRIS JOHNSON

Corporate Chef

Chris Johnson graduated from The Ohio State University and left for Europe to attend the Madeleine Kamman Cooking Academy in Annecy, France. Upon returning from Europe, Chris became the first Executive Chef of Gamekeepers Tavern in Chagrin Falls.

With over 30 years of kitchen experience, Chris lends a structure to kitchens by providing systems catered to individual needs. With an ever-present focus on food cost and labor control, Chris maintains constant communication with his kitchens.

Chris has a passion for making his own wine, beer, and maple syrup during his free time.

ERIK MARTINEZ

Director of Quality Control

Erik moved to Cleveland in 1993 to attend John Carroll University. He began working part time in the hospitality industry and remained in the field after graduation, working nearly every position available. Turning focus towards his love of cooking, he concentrated on the back of house and ran kitchens for most of his 26 year career.

Joining the Driftwood restaurant team in 2012, his most recent kitchen effort was as the opening executive chef at Cibréo Italian kitchen. His love for the industry presented the opportunity to transition to the Driftwood leadership team as Director of Quality Control, a role that maintains his focus on the kitchen and allows him to help train and educate others as they move along their career path.

MEGAN LEFEBVRE

Director of Catering

After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in Hotel / Restaurant / Institutional Management from Mercyhurst College, where she was the Events Manager for the school, Megan accepted a Food and Beverage management position at Hyatt Regency Atlanta. Upon returning home to Cleveland, she worked alongside the vice president at Executive Caterers, then as the catering manager at Pickwick & Frolic for 8 years. Megan opened Washington Place Bistro & Inn, a Driftwood restaurant, as the general manager in 2010 and remained in that role for 6 years before recently joining Driftwood Catering. She is enthusiastic about using her organizational skills and passion for efficiency to Driftwood Catering.