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A photo of a runner at The Smith carrying several plates of food

About Us

Our Story

Corner Table Restaurants was founded in 2001. With the senior leadership of CEO and Founder Jeffrey Lefcourt, Partner Michael Jacobs, VP of Operations Adam Burke, and Executive Chef and VP of Culinary Brian Ellis, Corner Table Restaurants is one of the most respected restaurant groups in New York City.

The Smith, a casual American Brasserie, opened the doors of its first location in 2007 in the East Village of New York. Fast forward, and The Smith has grown to operate six locations – four in Manhattan, one in Washington DC, and one in Chicago with additional restaurants planned for the future.

From the beginning, Corner Table has been obsessed with building a positive, supportive environment for its employees who in turn take great care of their guests. We care about every meal and every moment. We value our team and the culture we have created, and hire truly great people who get pleasure out of making people happy. We work closely with local farmers and purveyors that we trust to serve delicious food and drinks that people crave.

A photo of the mac + cheese at The Smith.


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A photo of the salmon main course at The Smith.


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A photo of several brunch dishes, including eggs benedict, pancakes, waffles, omelet, home fries, bacon, coffee, and orange juice.


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Our Core Values

Our purpose is simple: Make People Happy!

We are all empowered to MAKE a difference

We are committed to a positive, supportive and safe environment

We go above and beyond to exceed the expectations of our guests and always try to find a way to say yes

We enjoy making people happy; our team, our guests, our community

Everything we do is from the heart- the food, drinks and connections

We make decisions our kids can live with

We only hire great people and wait for great opportunities

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Our Team

A photo of Jeff Lefcourt

Jeffrey Lefcourt

Founder & CEO

Jeff grew up in New York working in restaurants — starting as a busboy and working his way up. Jeff’s experience includes working for Ark Restaurants and B.R. Guest Restaurants, launching several restaurants throughout New York City. In 2001, Jeff founded Corner Table Restaurants with a passion for creating a unique and caring culture, and a company that is among the best restaurant groups to work for in the world. Jeff’s attention to detail and hands on approach to everything from recipes and hospitality to music and lighting design sets the tone for the entire group. 

A photo of Michael Jacobs

Michael Jacobs


Michel joined CTR in 2012 with 20+ years of experience; he was previously President of Starr Restaurants, one of the nation’s fastest growing operators with 34 restaurants and national fitness chain Crunch, as well as Chief Operating Officer of B.R. Guest Restaurants, and his expertise is felt throughout the culture of The Smith. Michael is a founding and current Board member of The New York City Hospitality Alliance and an advisor to several tech companies in the Hospitality industry. CTR leverages Michael’s in-depth knowledge, ranging from technology solutions to compliance, finance and back-office, to develop an infrastructure for sustained growth. 


Michael Lamb

Executive Vice President

Driven by a passion to make Corner Table Restaurants more productive, collaborative, inclusive, and soulful, Michael has spent over 25 years in hospitality, always with a focus on developing people as the path to achieving excellence in operations. In Michael’s current role, he helps lead the development of our teams. 

Brian Headshot

Brian Ellis

Vice President Culinary, Executive Chef

Chef Brian Ellis cultivated his passion for food and hospitality when he was a student at Johnson & Wales University. After receiving his degree in Culinary Arts, Brian worked in kitchens under Waldy Malouf at Beacon Restaurant, as well as Rocco DiSpirito at Union Pacific. Chef Ellis joined CTR as the Chef de Cuisine of Jane Restaurant in 2003. He then went on to become the first Executive Chef of the original Smith Restaurant when it opened in 2007. In Brian’s current role, he works consistently to develop seasonal and innovative takes on classic, comfort food dishes. 

A photo of Adam Burke

Adam Burke

Vice President of Operations

Adam got his start in the industry working various jobs at restaurants in and around Montauk. Since joining CTR in 2002, Adam has played an integral role in the development and growth of the culture throughout the group. In the fall of 2007, Adam was tapped to be the opening General Manager of the first location of The Smith, and in 2010, became the Director of Operations leading the opening teams of the Midtown and Lincoln Square locations. In Adam’s current role as VP of Operations, he continues to play an instrumental role in mentoring and developing restaurant staff. 

Thaisis Conyers

Thaisis Conyers

Director of Human Resources

Thaisis oversees all Human Resource operations and is the culture ambassador for our team. Thaisis joined CTR in 2016 and brings a genuine and caring approach to everything she does. She works to make CTR one of the best places to work by implementing engaging employee focused resources aligned with our mission to make people happy and center diversity, equity, and inclusion. 


Chuck Schmier

Senior Corporate Chef

Chuck helps lead the culinary teams across all of our restaurants. Chuck joined CTR in 2012, and works to improve the structure of our kitchens and put systems in place that support our high volume environment and operational excellence. He assists with the development of new recipes to ensure proper execution across all locations. Through leadership development, Chuck fosters an atmosphere where people enjoy their work while improving their culinary knowledge and skills. 


Jennifer Woodhull

Senior Director of Operations

Jennifer joined CTR in 2012 and helps lead the front of house teams across all of our restaurants. Jennifer is responsible for upholding our high service standards through training and operational oversight, and further enhancing the guest experience. She plays an instrumental role in the continued education of staff at each restaurant and the success and growth of the CTR culture. 

The Smith DC

Dana Balding

Director of Brand & Creative Design

Dana joined CTR in 2016, and oversees all marketing, branding, and communications for the group. Dana is driven by her deep passion for hospitality and creativity, and works to find ways to enhance the guest experience and evolve the brand through strategic initiatives. She is responsible for the development and management of all marketing channels, brand identity and presence, graphic design, communications, and new concept launches. 


Amando Auleley

Corporate Chef

Amando’s passion for food was ignited at a young age by spending time in the kitchen with his mother. Amando helps lead the culinary teams at our restaurants through training, coaching, and teaching of our culture. He assists with the implementation of systems to set up our new restaurants for success and cultivate strong teams.


Luis Nieto

Corporate Chef

Luis inherited his culinary love from his father whose restaurants he worked in on weekends as a child. Luis helps lead the culinary teams at all of our restaurants. He provides support and training to the culinary management teams, helps develop new recipes and creates new systems to help our teams be successful.


Ken Larsen

Corporate Pastry Chef

Ken brings his love of sweets and seasonal ingredients to the Smith. Ken works to develop new recipes and oversees the pastry program across all locations. His impact reaches farther than the dessert menu. From our burger buns to granola, Ken makes many of our items in house. He is constantly expanding the pastry program working to bring only the best recipes to The Smith.


Josh Bidwell

Director of Operations

Driven by a love of hospitality, Josh brings a positive attitude to everything he does. He works to ensure our hospitality standards are maintained across all restaurants and our staff is empowered to take great care of our guests.