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August 22, 2023

DoorDash hires Zahav's Michael Solomonov to advocate for restaurant owners

The chef behind Federal Donuts and other Philly locales will collect direct feedback from restauranteurs for the food delivery company

Food & Drink Chefs
Michael Solomonov J. Fusco/Visit Philadelphia™

Michael Solomonov, the chef and restauranteur behind Zahav and Federal Donuts, is DoorDash's new chief restaurant advisor.

Michael Solomonov, the chef and restauranteur behind beloved Philadelphia eateries like Zahav and Federal Donuts, is DoorDash's new chief restaurant advisor, the company revealed on Tuesday.

Over the next year, Solomonov will work with several teams at DoorDash to provide his perspective on potential new services while connecting with restaurant owners across the country to keep the company informed about what's happening in the food service industry.

"With over a decade of restaurant ownership under his belt, we're incredibly eager to welcome Chef Michael Solomonov's unique owner-operator perspective to DoorDash over the next year," said Ruth Isenstadt, head of U.S. restaurants at DoorDash, in a press release. "The evolution and expansion of his growing restaurant empire in Philadelphia and New York City is a testament to continued innovation to meet customers where they are — something DoorDash is equally invested in for the long-term."

DoorDash created the chief restaurant advisor program in 2021 to help the company understand the needs and perspectives of restaurant operators. Solomonov is the third person to lead the program, following James Beard Award-winner and "Iron Chef" Stephanie Izard and Pinky Cole, founder of the Atlanta-based vegan hamburger chain Slutty Vegan.

Solomonov told the Philadelphia Business Journal that his 15 years of experience in the food industry and the variety of concepts he has created with CookNSolo, the restaurant group he co-owns with Steve Cook, will help him in his new role.

"Many of our restaurants, including Federal Donuts and Goldie, have grown because of our partnership with DoorDash over the years, connecting our customers with greater convenience," said Solomonov in the press release. "One of the aspects I'm most excited about is getting an inside look at how DoorDash makes decisions on behalf of its partners — and I'm not shying away from sharing what restaurant operators need."

Solomonov is a five-time James Beard Award-winning chef and cookbook author widely recognized for his Israeli cuisine. He is the co-owner and head chef at Zahav, the first Israeli-American restaurant to be awarded "outstanding restaurant" by the James Beard Foundation, and co-owns Federal Donuts, Dizengoff, Goldie, K'Far, Laser Wolf and Lilah. 

Last May, he opened a second Laser Wolf location atop the Hoxton Hotel in the Williamsburg area of Brooklyn. The original restaurant opened in a remodeled warehouse in Old Kensington in early 2020. CookNSolo also opened Jaffa Cocktail & Raw Bar at the Hoxton in partnership with the New York-based Boka Restaurant Group. 

As Solomonov's concepts expand outside of Philly, CookNSolo's reach across the city continues to grow. The restaurant group shuttered its Israeli street food restaurant, Merkaz, in June and reopened the space as Goldie's fifth location. Solomonov and Cook also closed the restaurant Abe Fisher earlier this summer in order to expand its neighboring eatery, Dizengoff, as a full-service restaurant. 

In addition to his role as chief restaurant advisor for DoorDash, Solomonov was appointed to Pres. Joe Biden's Council on Sports, Fitness and Nutrition, along with Chef Jose Garces and former Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard, earlier this year. The council promotes healthy eating and physical fitness.

Aside from the restaurant advisor program, DoorDash established its Restaurant Advisory Council in 2020. The 12-person council does not currently include anyone from Philly, though previous members included Charisse McGill, founder of Lokal Artisan Foods, as well as Keenya Wiggins, CEO and executive chef at Shugar Shack Soul Food in Glenolden.