Jeffrey Chodorow Was a Well-Known Restaurateur Before Pure Food and Wine

Sara Belcher - Author

Mar. 17 2022, Published 8:23 p.m. ET

Martha Stewart and Jeffrey Chodorow
Source: Getty Images

Martha Stewart and Jeffrey Chodorow

The Netflix docuseries Bad Vegan: Fame. Fraud. Fugitives. follows the rise and fall of the raw vegan restaurant Pure Food and Wine. Its creator, Sarma Melngailis, was once a celebrity restaurateur — and her restaurant dreams became reality partially thanks to the help of wealthy financier Jeffrey Chodorow, once called the "Donald Trump of the restaurant world."

Since Melngailis likely wouldn't have gotten to where she was with Jeffrey's money, we have to wonder: What's his net worth? And where is he now?

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Jeffrey Chodorow had a humble upbringing.

Despite being born in the Bronx outside of Manhattan in 1950, Jeffrey's father died shortly after he was born, forcing him and his mother to relocate to Miami. There, his mom worked as a manicurist in a barber shop in Miami Beach, growing up poor in a wealthy area of Florida.

While he may not have had the easiest of starts, Jeffrey went on to graduate from the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School (known for its business curriculum) with an economics degree before receiving his Doctor of Law.

Edie Falco and Jeffrey Chodorow
Source: Getty Images

Edie Falco and Jeffrey Chodorow at Tuscan Steak in New York, NY (2000)

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From here, Jeffrey served as a lawyer in both Pennsylvania and Florida before moving into real estate. He developed multiple shopping centers in Philadelphia throughout the 1970s, eventually finding his way into the food business.

Technically, his first restaurant was a Bojangles' franchise in Charlotte, N.C., though he later moved to New York and opened a restaurant in 1987. Over the next three decades, he would open 24 eateries and make friends with some pretty famous people.

"Most people thought of me as a wealthy investor guy who just invested money in restaurants. A business person who just opened up these mega-restaurants, and it was just about the money. But that was so far from the truth,” he previously told The New York Times. “I’m a foodie trapped in a business person’s body. People say about me, I’d go around the world for the opening of a clam.”

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Jeffrey and Lisa Chodorow
Source: Getty Images

Jeffrey Chodorow and his wife, Lisa Chodorow

The success of these restaurants and his other business ventures led to his accumulated wealth and even more restaurant dealings — which led to his eventual involvement in Melngailis' Pure Food and Wine vegan restaurant from 2004 to 2015.

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What is Jeffrey Chodorow's net worth?

Between opening restaurants of his own and investing in others' visions, it's no surprise that the restauranteur has found massive financial success. According to various sources, his net worth is estimated to be anywhere between $1.9 million and $20 million. However, considering the recent downfall of some of his eateries, it's likely it's on the lower side of that scale.

Jeffrey Chodorow
Source: Netflix

Jeffrey Chodorow in 'Bad Vegan'

Where is Jeffrey Chodorow now?

In the Netflix docuseries Bad Vegan, Jeffrey talks about his personal involvement in Pure Food and Wine's creation (and the restaurant's subsequent downfall). While he may have cut ties with Melngailis in 2015, he's still very much in the restaurant business.

Jeffrey is the owner of China Grill Management, which owns and manages more than 20 restaurants worldwide, according to its LinkedIn profile. The company is currently based in Florida, and while it may not have the buzz his restaurants used to, it appears that he's still doing well for himself.

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