BERNSTEIN--Allen J. Castle Harlan, Inc. is deeply saddened by the passing of our cherished friend and colleague, Allen J. Bernstein of Manhasset, NY. He was a recognized leader and visionary in the restaurant industry, one of the finest minds in the business and a true friend. He was 65. While earning a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in Marketing from the University of Miami, Allen wrote his senior thesis on the emerging practice of restaurant branding, and in that process, identified his lifelong career. After graduating in 1968, he began purchasing franchises in such companies as Hardee's, Long John Silvers, Wendy's, Godfather's Pizza, Luther's Bar-B-Que and LePeep. His Wendy's outlet across from Penn Station in New York once was the busiest Wendy's in the United States. In 1988, Allen and Castle Harlan formed Quantum Restaurant Group to build national chains around great restaurant concepts. Allen was Chief Executive Officer of Quantum until he retired in 2005. Under his leadership, the company's first acquisition was the Peasant Restaurants in Atlanta. In 1989, the company acquired Morton's of Chicago, the renowned chain of steakhouses, which was one of Allen's proudest career achievements. The restaurant chain grew in number from nine units at acquisition to 79 today, and became so successful that Quantum's name was changed to Morton's Restaurant Group in 1996 to emphasize a focus on the namesake brand. When he retired, Allen remained Chairman Emeritus of Morton's and continued to serve in a significant ongoing advisory role. At the time of his death, he was President of Endeavor Restaurant Group, Inc., Director of the Bravo Brio Restaurant Group and Director of Cheesecake Factory, Inc. He served on the boards of directors of a number of privately held companies, including Caribbean Restaurants, LLC, the exclusive Burger King franchise in Puerto Rico. Previously, he served as a director of Charlie Brown's Steakhouse, McCormick & Schmick's Seafood Restaurants and Dave & Busters, Inc. He also served on the board of trustees of the American Film Institute. We extend our heartfelt condolences to his wife Lori Waltzer Bernstein, sister Helene Morrison, his two children, Stacey Stolar and Adam Bernstein, his daughter-in-law, Jessica Manis Bernstein, and granddaughter Sarah Stolar. A memorial service will be held at 10am on Wednesday, November 2nd at Riverside Memorial Chapel, 180 West 76th Street, New York, NY 10023. Allen's Colleagues at Castle Harlan, Inc.
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Published in The New York Times on Nov. 2, 2011