Boathouse proprietor Dean J. Poll is a native Long Islander who grew up in the restaurant industry. Traveling to Brooklyn on weekends with his father to work at the family owned Pappas Restaurant, Dean learned the business from the ground up… literally. From sweeping floors to cleaning shrimp; no job was too menial for this 8 year old.
At the age of 11 he was promoted to water boy on the dining room floor. The thrill of long lines on summer weekends was a tremendous influence on Dean’s decision to pursue the hospitality industry.
In the mid 70’s, while working full-time with his father and brothers in a midtown Manhattan restaurant, Dean recognized the influence purchasing had on the quality and profitability in any fine restaurant. This learning experience has helped grow his businesses throughout his career. In 1980 Dean and his brothers came back to Long Island and purchased a defunct property, renaming it Pappas after his father’s restaurant in Brooklyn. In the mid 80’s Dean and his brothers purchased Manero’s in Roslyn, turning it into a prime steakhouse and adjacent butcher shop that is now known as Bryant & Cooper. These were the first of what was to become many Long Island restaurants owned by the Poll brothers.
In 2000 Mr. Poll sought out the contract for the Loeb Boathouse in Central Park. After seeing it for the very first time, he recognized the potential that this somewhat decrepit venue had to offer. Having been awarded the property by the NYC Parks Department, he became the proprietor of the Boathouse and painstakingly converted it into a beloved and respected icon in the heart of Central Park; the only lakeside restaurant in all of New York City.
The vendor relationships that Dean developed early on in his career are still very important to him and ensure the quality of the Boathouse. He is still known to wake at 2AM and visit the market to touch base with his suppliers and keep current with their offerings. Dean is proud of his strong management team and is grateful for the dedication of his entire staff. Together they have enabled the restaurant to achieve the success it enjoys today. The Boathouse truly represents the very best of NY.
Dean currently resides on Long Island with his wife and 2 sons and enjoys a round of golf in his free time.
Peter Bischoff, is a native New Yorker who has dedicated his life to the hospitality industry. He started work as a banquet Maitre d' while studying at university. Since then, Peter has developed the kind of broad experience in operations and sales that keeps him on the leading edge of his profession.
In 2000, Peter brought his wealth of operational knowledge to the Boathouse to advise President, Dean Poll, on the development and overall direction of the banquet facilities and special event space. The two refined the contemporary American menus and special event spaces that have given the Loeb Central Park Boathouse its special place among New York venues.
The Boathouse has hosted heads of state, socialites, corporate leaders and celebrities in special events ranging from wedding receptions to film premieres.
Peter has operated some of Long Island’s most successful venues, including the Swan Club, and brings three decades of sales and marketing experience to The Boathouse.
“We are responsive to our clients and make them partners in the process, leaving nothing to chance”, he says.
Peter resides on the North Shore of Long Island with his wife, Patricia and two children.
New Jersey native John Greeley brings a unique perspective as a chef and artist to his position as the new Executive Chef at the Central Park Boathouse. Greeley’s American Cuisine has both coastal and southern influence and relies heavily on locally grown produce. Trained as a painter and sculptor, Greeley uses his creative talents to craft dishes that highlight seasonal ingredients with an artistic visual flair.
Greeley’s culinary interest started as a teenager while experimenting on his own in his family’s kitchen. As far back as I can remember I was interested in food and cooking. Not just the process and creativity of cooking but ingredients. There is a true sense of discovery when working with something new or unusual. New Jersey farms and ingredients from the family’s garden were an important part of family meals while he was growing up in Ridgewood, New Jersey. He spent his summers cooking in Nantucket and Rhode Island and credits this time by the ocean for his love of surf, seafood and fishing.
His passion and talent for the Fine Arts led Greeley to New York’s School of Visual Arts where he spent two years before transferring to the Savannah College of Art and Design in Savannah, Georgia, where he received his BFA. During that time, he was also working as a sous chef at Gerry Klaskala’s restaurant in Savannah’s historic district, 45 South. There, he quickly gained an expertise in Southern gastronomy, especially the then emerging Low Country Cuisine.
After graduation, Greeley began working at New York City landmark ’21’ under Chef Michael Lomonaco. He was quickly promoted to sous chef and later was named opening chef de cuisine of Upstairs at ‘21’, an intimate dining room one flight above the famous Bar Room. In 2007, he became top toque at ‘21,’ elevating the restaurant’s iconic dishes by seeking out the best ingredients possible and preparing them through the eyes of an artist. A self-trained cook, Greeley has also staged at several top restaurants in New York City, including the four-star Per Se. He has also continued to pursue numerous culinary adventures abroad, including his time presiding over a cooking school at the luxurious Villa San Michele in Tuscany.
As an avid traveler, Greeley has been lucky enough to work with Chef’s abroad in Germany, Peru, Italy, Spain as well as Mexico. Greeley brings a strong interest in fresh seasonal products to his new position at The Central Park Boathouse. “I’m very excited to be in New York City and to showcase local seasonal food with a simple approach and excellent quality”. “I want to show off what this area has to offer with all the local farms in New York, New Jersey and Long Island”. “I always want to surprise people, give them a twist on something they have had for years.”
To this day, Greeley always imagines and develops dishes on paper before testing them out and uses the sketches as a tool to educate his cooks. His paintings and sculptures, which include cityscapes and still life’s, have been exhibited in galleries in both Savannah and New York. He also has created a series of hand drawn books detailing his meals at top restaurants in New York.
Greeley is a media savvy chef who has appeared on numerous television programs, including NBC’s TODAY Show, CBS’s Saturday Early Show, ABC News, Discovery’s The Party Planner with David Tutera, and Cooking Channel’s The Originals, on which he cooked with legendary Chef Emeril Lagasse. His recipes have appeared in Saveur magazine, Los Angeles Times and other publications.
When he’s not cooking, Greeley can usually be found in his art studio painting, posting on his website (www.modernchef.com), or making skateboards in his garage in New Jersey.
James W. McGovern is a native New Yorker who knew early on that the hospitality industry was in his future. He was fascinated by the tent parties that his grandfather Winslow gave in Southampton, NY, becoming more intrigued after trailing his uncle Jerry Berns, a founding owner of ‘21' Club.
James shares with his knowing clientele a deep appreciation of the Loeb Central Park Boathouse’s contemporary American country club décor, beautifully detailed surroundings overlooking Central Park Lake and its culinary excellence. “At every level of service here, we have a privilege to serve attitude,” he notes.
After graduating from Trinity-Pawling, James was a sought-after night club promoter at Studio 54, Danceteria, and Mudd Club. He packed caviar for his future in-laws who owned Iron Gate Products Company, a '21' subsidiary; two decades later he was appointed ‘21’s private dining sales manager. His three-decade hospitality career spans managerial positions in some of Gotham’s most beloved restaurants including The Supper Club, Sardi's (where he was trained by Vincent Sardi), and Tavern on the Green.
James lives on Upper East Side with his wife Deborah, and enjoys playing tennis, backgammon and walking his three German Pinchers in Central Park.
Growing up in a large Italian family in Brooklyn, Michael Amore’s love for food and entertaining was inspired by his father who was a baker. Even as a young boy, Amore knew that he wanted to work with food and people. His childhood passion led him to pursue a degree in Restaurant & Hotel Management. During the course of his studies, he gained experience in a series of restaurant industry jobs—working his way up from busboy to bartender. He launched his career with Marriott Host JFK, accepting a position as the youngest Manager to oversee an entire terminal at the airport. His dream to work in Manhattan became a reality when he was offered the coveted GM position at The Sporting Club—one of the most prestigious star-studded sports restaurants and bars in Manhattan in the 1990s. Amore went on to manage Long Island’s landmark restaurants Café Baci and Café Spasso for almost a decade. Known for his “devotion to creating the best possible dining experience for each and every diner," Amore was approached by Dean Poll to run Majors Steak House in the 2005 and later become the GM of the acclaimed Riverbay Seafood Bar & Grill. Continuing their successful relationship, Amore is pleased to accept the position of GM at the Central Park Boathouse in New York City.