We spoke to Andrew Steinthal, Co-Founder & CRO of The Infatuation discussing the inspiration behind his move in career from the music business to food, his music taste and catching up about his favourite food spots.

Andrew set up The Infatuation with business partner Chris Stang in 2009 during the boom of Social Media and particularly Instagram. Prior to going full time with The Infatuation, Andrew was the VP of PR at Warner Bros. Records. The pair have recently taken on the Zagat brand and are launching in two new cities this year. Zagat has now re-launched in print, after a three year hiatus (& a year and a half after The Infatuation acquired the brand from Google), with a special 40th Anniversary NYC Guide.

Heading to New York soon? You can find this online on Amazon here.

Could you tell us a little about yourselves for the benefit of our readers?

Of course, I’m Andrew Steinthal, co-founder of The Infatuation, the global restaurant discovery platform. We also own and are rebuilding the legendary Zagat restaurant platform.

What was the inspiration behind starting The Infatuation?

My business partner and co-founder Chris Stang and I were both working in the music industry. We always say that the music business is a night time sport. A big part of our jobs were taking bands and industry people out and we became known by friends and colleagues as being really in-the-know about where to eat and drink. We had talked about starting a business together and the opportunity was pretty clear.

So as we understand it, you both started your careers in the music industry prior to The Infatuation. Tell us a little about your time in the industry.

Chris was a VP, Marketing for Atlantic and I was a VP, PR for Warner Bros. Both he and I ran our college radio stations and having a career in the music business was the original goal. We both did some incredible things and worked with some of the most recognisable acts in the world. It was a dream opportunity and lead us to what we’re doing today. Could not have asked for more.

How did you two meet?

Funnily enough, we actually met on the set of MTV’s TRL… back in the Carson Daly days. Live in Times Square. Destiny’s Child was actually on that day and we were in town for a gathering of college radio station managers. We always laugh because MTV moved our seats on-set because we were front and centre together and weren’t cheering loudly enough. He and I got to know each other over one or a dozen beers that night and the rest is history.

A big part of our jobs were taking bands and industry people out and we became known by friends and colleagues as being really in-the-know about where to eat and drink.

Tell us about the name “The Infatuation”. How did you end up choosing this name?

Well, originally the name was the Immaculate Infatuation. We shortened it up a few years back when we took it on full-time.

Your Instagram hashtag #EEEEEATS currently has a total of 18.1m tags! Do you think Social Media has been a huge help in your growth?

Absolutely. Milestones in our company sync up really well with milestones in tech and Social Media world. The company was founded right around the time the iPhone was out and gaining popularity and we took the company on as a full-time gig as Instagram was rapidly growing. So many early connections came from conversations on Twitter. We used social in the best way we could imagine… to build a community of like-minded people who cared about food, restaurants and going out in the same way we did. 10 years later we’re still at it.

Do you have an absolute favourite restaurant in New York City?

I get this question all the time and it’s always the hardest to answer with how many meals I eat out. I always go back to a few classics though: Raoul’s, a classic french bistro in Soho and Momofuku Saam Bar in the East Village. The Candlelight Inn is probably my all time favourite place to eat, even if its a dive bar in my hometown of Scarsdale, NY…they have the best wings of all time.

We used social in the best way we could imagine… to build a community of like-minded people who cared about food, restaurants and going out in the same way we did.

Do you tend to cook at home and if so, what is your signature dish?

I’m not much of a chef. My best talent in the kitchen is cooking up the perfect bowl of cereal.

Which five music artists (past or present) would you invite to an Infatuation dinner party?

Wow, that’s a good question. Impressed. I’d say Thom York but he’d be brutal at a dinner party I bet…Let’s keep things current-ish: Mark Hoppus of Blink-182, Chance The Rapper, Rihanna, Lizzo and Snoop Dogg. That would certainly be entertaining.

Obviously having had careers in the music industry, music is a huge passion of yours. How have you combined your love of food and music together, if at all?

Chris and I built this company with our amazing team the only way we know how… by using what we learned in the music industry for building a community and fanbase for a band. Grassroots focused, going from city to city. Our bi-coastal festival, EEEEEATSCON, is simply a music festival with restaurants as the headliners, and of course, we incorporate music into so much of our programming. It’s very much at the core of who we are, and therefore it’s remained an important part to our approach to business.

My best talent in the kitchen is cooking up the perfect bowl of cereal.

Do you have a favourite genre of music?

Honestly, I’m all across the map. I like pretty much all genres other than country. A good song is a good song, a great record is a great record.

What’s next in store for The Infatuation?

Growth continues to be a main focus for us. We’re launching in new cities (Miami just launched and Houston/Dallas are coming at the top of next year). We’re also really proud to have acquired the Zagat brand last year and our team is working incredibly hard to redevelop and deploy an all new digital platform that we hope will be of great use to people around the global. Lots of big things in-store and we’re excited about the future.

Lastly, please may you both recommend a song for our playlist?

This is one of my favourite things to do personally, so we turned it into something fun for our Infatuation community. We actually curate a monthly Infatuation BEEEEEATS Playlist on Spotify.

About The Author

Connie Morphet

Connie Morphet

Connie grew up all over the world and spent her uni days in Manchester studying Social Anthropology. Now working as a Social Media Exec in London, she spends her free time eating out, going out and listening to music. All three of which highlight the foundation of EAT HEAR; music and food should be explored together!

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