FOUNDER, PRESIDENT & CEO – ICON INC
SENIOR PARTNER AND SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT -
LETTUCE ENTERTAIN YOU ENTERPRISES, INC.
Gerard Vincent Centioli is Founder of ICON LLC, Founder, President & CEO of ICON INC (ICON) and Senior Partner & Senior VP of Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises, Inc. (LEYE).
Born and raised in Seattle, Washington, Centioli spent his childhood employed in all segments of a KFC franchise (41 units) owned by Gil’s Enterprises, Inc., his family business. He worked after school, weekends and holidays learning about restaurant operations, finance, marketing, purchasing, distribution, real estate, construction and every other aspect of the company. After receiving his Bachelor of Business Administration degree with majors in public accounting and marketing from Gonzaga University in Washington, Centioli went on to hold the posts of Assistant to the President and Vice President for Gil’s Enterprises, Inc.
Gil’s Enterprises, Inc. merged into Collins Food International, Inc. (NYSE: CF) in July, 1983 at which time Centioli was named Regional Vice President of the Kentucky Fried Chicken Division of CF. In March 1984, he was named Vice President of Administration of the Kentucky Fried Chicken Division of CF. His affiliation with Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises, Inc. began in 1984, through a joint venture with CF to develop the Ed Debevic’s concept. The joint venture between CF and LEYE named Centioli Vice President of Ed Debevic’s, Inc. He was named President & CEO of Ed Debevic’s, Inc. in 1988. He was named President & CEO of the Tucci Division of LEYE in 1992. He was named a member of the LEYE Executive Committee in 1993. Centioli was named President & CEO of the Maggiano’s / Corner Bakery Division of LEYE in 1993.
Maggiano’s and Corner Bakery were preparing for an Initial Public Offering (IPO) of the company’s stock in 1995. In anticipation of the IPO, the individual Maggiano’s and Corner Bakery entities were merged into a single corporation – Maggiano’s / Corner Bakery, Inc. and Centioli was named President and CEO. Maggiano’s / Corner Bakery, Inc. ultimately merged into Brinker International, Inc. (NYSE: EAT) in August 1995. Centioli was named Senior Vice President of EAT and President and CEO of the Maggiano’s / Corner Bakery Division. In October 1995 he was elected to the Board of Directors of EAT. In January 1996 EAT formed the Italian Concepts Division which included Romano’s Macaroni Grill, Maggiano’s Little Italy and Corner Bakery, at which time Centioli was named President and CEO of the Division. While under Centioli’s direction, Romano’s Macaroni Grill grew from 62 to 94 units, Maggiano’s Little Italy grew from inception to 10 units and the Corner Bakery grew from inception to 42 units. In April 1997 EAT formed the Emerging Concepts Division and named Centioli President and CEO. The Emerging Concepts Division was comprised of Maggiano’s Little Italy, Corner Bakery, Big Bowl and Wildfire.
On March 8, 1999, Gerard Centioli, Richard Melman and Michael Fox founded ICON LLC. ICON was formed to establish partnerships with bona fide icons for the expressed purpose of multi-unit development.
The first ICON partnership was established with Joe’s Stone Crab, Inc. of Miami Beach, Florida. This famous restaurant, opened by Joe and Jennie Weiss in Miami Beach in 1913, began serving Florida Stone Crab in 1921. In 1999, ICON and the Weiss Family formed Joe’s Stone Crab Development Company to develop the brand beyond Miami. The first ICONcept, Joe’s Seafood, Prime Steak & Stone Crab, opened on October 19, 2000 in Chicago at The Shops at North Bridge. A poll of Chicago Magazine readers promptly named it “Best New Restaurant of the Year.” A second Joe’s Seafood, Prime Steak & Stone Crab opened on October 22, 2004 in Las Vegas at The Forum Shops at Caesars.
The second ICON partnership was established with Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, Inc. [NYSE: KKD] of Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Vernon Rudolph opened the first store in Winston-Salem on July 13, 1937 making America’s best-loved doughnuts. In 2000, ICON and KKD formed KremeWorks LLC to develop the brand in Washington, Oregon, Alaska, Hawaii and British Columbia. The first ICONcept, Krispy Kreme Doughnuts & Coffee, opened in Issaquah, Washington on October 30, 2001. KremeWorks developed and operated a dozen Krispy Kreme Doughnuts & Coffee shops in the Pacific Northwest and Hawaii.
The third ICON partnership was established with PICK-QUICK Drive In, Inc. of Fife, Washington. This classic drive in was opened by Jay Adolph and Henrietta Olsen in 1949. PICK-QUICK is owned today by Joe and Betty Burgi. In 2007 ICON founder Gerard Centioli and Joe Burgi formed PICK-QUICK Development Company LLC to develop the concept beyond Fife. The first ICONcept, the PICK-QUICK Drive In Flagship, broke ground in Auburn, Washington on September 27, 2010. On October 1, 2010 USA Today named PICK-QUICK Drive In the “Best Burger Joint in the State of Washington” in its list of “51 Great Burger Joints in America.” On March 8, 2011, the 12th Anniversary of ICON LLC, the PICK-QUICK Drive In Flagship opened.
The fourth ICON partnership was established with Tadich Grill, Inc. of San Francisco, California. Three Croatian immigrants began this legendary business in 1849 during the California Gold Rush. Tadich Grill is owned today by Michael Buich. In 2009 ICON founder Gerard Centioli and Michael Buich formed Tadich Grill Development Company LLC to develop the brand beyond San Francisco.
Forbes named Tadich Grill “One of the World’s 10 Great Classic Restaurants Well Worth Visiting” on July 9, 2012. On May 17, 2013, the partners and landlord executed a lease to open the first ICONcept at 1001 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., between The White House and Capitol Hill, in Washington, D.C.
Centioli was a member of the Young Presidents’ Organization (YPO) from 1989 – 2004 and served as an officer of the Chicago Chapter from 1994 – 1996.
Crain’s Chicago Business named Centioli one of the 40 Players Under 40 in 1994. Nation’s Restaurant News named Centioli one of the Top 50 New Players in 1997.
Centioli was elected to the Board of Regents of Gonzaga University in April 1999.
In June 1999 Centioli was elected to the Board of Directors of Lawry’s Restaurants, Inc.
Centioli was elected to the Board of Directors of the National Italian American Foundation in March 2000.
In March 2002 Centioli was elected to the Board of Directors of the Distinguished Restaurants of North America (DiRoNA) where he served as Chair of the Quality Assurance Committee.
Centioli was elected to the Board of Directors of the Italian American Chamber of Commerce – Pacific Northwest in January 2011.
In September 2012 Festa Italiana presented him the Gill A. Centioli Memorial Award.
Centioli has a passion for college football that he acquired attending University of Washington games with his father Gill, a season ticket holder since 1951. He is now a University of Washington and University of Notre Dame season ticket holder and attends games with his children.
Centioli also enjoys celebrating his children’s avocations by flying with his son Lauren Vincent, a pilot and attending opera with his daughter Cicilia Rose, a singer.