DESMOND J. REILLY is Managing Principal of Star Restaurant Group, LLC. He oversees concept development, design, branding, marketing, event management, and operations for the company. Following graduation from a successful college career as a student/athlete (Tennis) at Wake Forest University, Des headed west to California and cut his teeth in the hospitality industry with The Ritz Carlton Huntington Hotel in Pasadena, McCormick & Schmick’s in Los Angeles and The Cheesecake Factory in Redondo Beach.
In 1994, Des came to New York City and began accumulating a wealth of food and beverage experience in establishments such as Lexington Bar & Books, Studio 54 (revival) Tatou, Flowers, Lemon, Chez Es Saada, Clementine, Eugene, PM and finally Cain New York. In the fall of 2005 and in the wake of the instant success of Cain New York, Des launched the Cain Leisure Guest Services Department. This program was instrumental in the growth of Cain Leisure and helped secure the partnership with the Atlantis Paradise Island Resort with Cain At The Cove, Paradise Island, Bahamas. Des also assumed responsibility for the Events and Marketing Departments at Cain Leisure, which included Cain New York, Goldbar, Cain at The Cove and The Surf Lodge.
Des founded Keystone Hospitality in 2010 (with Kristopher Carr), and in 2011 left New York City to launch Kettle Hill, a 6000 square foot, 180-seat, full service restaurant, bar and patio inspired by Teddy Roosevelt and The Rough Riders. Kettle Hill was located in the Power Plant Live District of Baltimore, MD.
In December of 2012, Des and Kris developed all operational and beverage programs for Heist, a 2000 square foot upscale cocktail lounge and nightclub located in the DuPont Circle section of Washington, D.C. They then went on to develop and design the opening beverage menu, trained the bar staff and produced the opening week of events for the George Wong designed, Five Star restaurant, The Flying Elephant, in the Park Hyatt Chennai Hotel in Chennai, India.
Reilly and Carr have been working together in the hospitality industry for more than 12 year and the two have been working with Stu Damon for four years. In 2014, the trio launched The Walrus Oyster & Ale House in National Harbor, MD. Gross earnings from The Walrus year one fell just shy of $5 million. The restaurant continues to not only be one of the National Harbor leaders in sales per square foot but consistently scores high marks for social media reviews and is considered one of the top restaurants in the area. In 2015 The Walrus sold more oysters than any other restaurant in Maryland, Delaware and Virginia.