Born and raised on Long Island, New York, you can say that the hospitality business has always been in his blood. Dean grew up in a family and long line of famous food personalities and restaurateurs. An Upper East Side institution, his grandfather Angelo, founded what is today William Poll Foods in 1921. His father James Poll, owned the memorable Pappas Restaurant in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn.
Under his father's close watch, he spent much of his time traveling to Brooklyn on weekends. From sweeping the floors to cleaning the shrimp he learned that no job was too big or small. At the age of 11, he was promoted to water boy on the dining room floor. The thrill of big crowds and long lines during summer weekends was a tremendous influence on Dean. This began a lifelong passion for the restaurant and hospitality business. Most importantly, he learned the values of hard work and quality from his father; these values along with authenticity, unmatched hospitality and risk taking would become the hallmarks for the Poll Group.
In the mid 70's, while working full-time with his father and brothers in a midtown Manhattan restaurant, Dean recognized the influence purchasing had on the quality and profitability in any fine restaurant. This learning experience has helped grow his businesses throughout his career.
After working with their father in New York City, in 1980 Dean and his brothers came back to Long Island and purchased a defunct property, renaming it Pappas after his father's restaurant in Brooklyn. In the mid 80's Dean and his brothers purchased Manero's in Roslyn, turning it into a prime steakhouse and adjacent butcher shop that is now known as Bryant & Cooper.
A student of history and a fan old New York, in 2000, Poll took on his most ambitious project ever. This time solo, he sought to make his mark on Manhattan with the contract for the Loeb Boathouse in Central Park. After seeing it for the very first time, he recognized the potential of this icon that had fallen into complete disrepair. After a competition, the property was awarded to Poll by the NYC Parks Department. He became the sole proprietor of the Boathouse and painstakingly restored it once again to its glory and as one of New York's most beloved, successful and visited institutions.
During the process of restoring the famous Loeb Boathouse, Poll sought to identify other famous New York institutions in need of similar restoration. In January 2013, Poll acquired the legendary Gallagher's Steakhouse on 52nd and Broadway from Marlene Brody, widow of famous restaurateur, Jerome Brody.
The famed steakhouse and speakeasy was founded in 1927, by Ziegfield Follies dancer Helen Gallagher. During it's 85-year history, Gallaghers has been witness to legendary events at the cross-roads of the world. Gallaghers will continue to be a place of luminaries and victories, heroes and hurrahs. A place still steeped in New York history, pop culture and excitement. Like the Loeb Boathouse, Poll sees Gallaghers as an integral part of the fabric of New York and is passionate about restoring it to its original glory, while retaining its character (famed meat locker and bar). He looks forward to creating an unmatched experience in hospitality at Gallaghers for generations to come.
Like his grandfather and father before him, Poll will continue to make quality, authenticity and hospitality the centerpiece of the Poll Organization. Whether it's visiting the market at 2 AM with suppliers, or building his world-class management team, Gallaghers, along with the Loeb Boathouse represents the very best of New York. Dean currently resides on Long Island with his wife and 2 sons.