Brooks Reitz is a restaurateur and entrepreneur based in Charleston, SC.
Born and raised in Western Kentucky, his first experience in the restaurant business was as a busboy at his local country club. While at Transylvania University in Lexington, KY, he worked at Dudley’s, an iconic Lexington dining room, while earning a double major in English and Drama.
Following graduation he went to work for the original 21C Museum Hotel in Louisville, KY, leaving four years later as the General Manager of their restaurant, Proof, and bound for Charleston, South Carolina.
In Charleston he sought out James Beard winner Mike Lata and joined his front-of-house team at FIG. He rose quickly to General Manager - the first non-owner to hold the position in the restaurants history. With the same team, he opened The Ordinary as General Manager, and led a team recognized as a finalist for the James Beard Award for Best New Restaurant.
He left The Ordinary to open his first restaurant as an owner, Leon’s Oyster Shop. It was quickly recognized as a Charleston “must,” earning recognition as EATER’s Best New Restaurants in America, Bon Appetit’s 50 Best New Restaurants in America, and a James Beard semifinal nod for Rising Star Chef.
Leon’s was followed by Little Jack’s Tavern, which was also recognized by Bon Appetit as one of 50 Best New Restaurants in America - and soon after, being recognized by that same publication as having the Best Burger in America. During the first year they also won South Beach Food & Wine’s acclaimed Burger Bash.
Little Jack’s was followed a few years later by Melfi’s, an classic Italian restaurant inspired by the trattorias of Italy, and the thin crust style of pizza prominent in Rome. Melfi’s captured diners with its classic, technique driven food, its loving approach to simplicity, and the warm, clubby interiors, designed by Brooks and his business partner, Tim Mink.
In addition to owning and operating his own restaurants, he is the Founder of Jack Rudy Cocktail Co., a line of non-alcoholic cocktail mixers, bar tools and accessories produced in America and sold worldwide.