Bradlee Bartram’s love for hospitality began at a very young age working alongside his parents, both restaurant and hotel professionals, in Northern California. His truest connection to the industry, however, was established at home, where he and his family grew vegetables, raised chickens and ground their own wheat for bread. “What got me into the food business, more than anything,” he says, “was food.”
The Seattle native got his start with Marriott Hotels, and then progressed from front of house to back of house with Gilbert/Robinson and the Borel Restaurant Group. This focus on cooking eventually led him to a successful kitchen career in Philadelphia, where he worked with a number of celebrated restaurateurs, culminating with Stephen Starr in 1995. Bartram was the original executive chef of the Continental Restaurant & Martini Bar in Old City, the flagship restaurant of a STARR family that would eventually blossom into 35 properties worldwide.
Bartram would later move into a Director of Restaurants role with a particular emphasis on the culinary facet of the business. Providing total oversight over restaurant operations, he has been a part of virtually every STARR restaurant opening. His well-traveled palate, paired with a keen understanding of STARR’s philosophies and service standards, has proven invaluable throughout the company’s history.
In his current role of Executive Vice President, Bartram continues to lead in the development of all new restaurants, as well as oversee a diverse team of operational, culinary, beverage and service leaders. He works closely with designers, developers, vendors and management teams to build restaurants that are stunning, inviting and functional. “I love taking what seems impossible and figuring out how to do it,” says Bartram of the creative challenge of his job, which sees him nurturing a restaurant from humble on-paper beginnings straight through to the frenetic energy of opening night.
Bartram lives in Haddonfield, New Jersey with his wife and two children.