Richard Cohn is a Founding Partner and General Counsel of Merchants Hospitality Inc. Cohn oversees all legal and financial details of the Company. Cohn joined the Company when it was founded in 1986, bringing over 30 years of expertise in legal and financial aspects of the restaurant, hospitality and real estate industry. Cohn’s acquired knowledge goes far beyond the essential business aspects necessary to run a successful restaurant and real estate company. Amongst other things, Cohn is responsible for negotiating highly competitive leases, loan documents, partnerships and joint venture documents, franchise agreements, supervising financial deals, reviewing marketing, advertising, and planning materials, heading litigation on issues concerning trademark, union, landlord and tenant, labor, wage and employment, international programs, the State Liquor Authority, and a myriad of administrative aspects inherent in the business.
Cohn’s contribution to the Company wildly surpasses each title attributed to him, whether as Partner, Counselor or Executive Management Team Member. It is Cohn’s seasoned level of industry specific legal and operational knowledge that allows the Company to successfully operate and expand. Cohn is attributed with building and maintaining the corporate team, ensuring the Company efficiently complies with any and all requisites for its multitude of properties. As a multifaceted businessman, Cohn’s portfolio encompasses the licensing, developing, renovating, and opening of restaurant and retail locations such as Merchants Cigar Bar, Merchants River House, Neely’s Barbecue Parlor, Philippe, Pound & Pence, SouthWest NY, Watermark Bar at Pier 15, and The Amalfi.
Along with Abraham Merchant, President of the Company, Cohn is credited with contributing to the revitalization and renewal of Lower Manhattan after the 9/11 terrorist attacks devastated the area. Cohn has the honor of being appointed by the Hon. Chairman Whitehead to be a member of the Restaurants, Retailers and Small Business Advisory Council to the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, the State Agency charged with the responsibility to supervise the rebuilding of the World Trade Center site and Downtown Manhattan. Through this capacity, Cohn has the opportunity to interact with many members of the community who have contributed to the ongoing revitalization. Cohn makes the well-known restaurant SouthwestNY complimentary available to host various seminars and presentations conducted by the LMDC, the New York State Economic Development Corporation, the World Trade Center Tenant’s Association, The Consortium for Worker Education, and many others. It is an honor and privilege for Cohn and SouthWest NY to host an annual complimentary buffet for the families of the victims of the 9/11 terrorist attack.
Cohn is the encouragement behind the Company’s exploitation of new opportunities to open more successful restaurants in Lower Manhattan where each establishment will become part of bringing back Manhattan and exceeding where it was pre 9/11.
Cohn served as General Counsel for the Riese Organization, the largest privately held restaurant company in the United States. Cohn’s experience gained at The Riese Organization included being immersed in the fast paced business of a commercial landlord with over a hundred commercial store tenants in Manhattan.
Cohn received his Juris Doctorate from New York Law School, located in Tribeca. Cohn continues to be actively involved as an alumni and is well recognized for his support and sponsorship.
Cohn lives just outside Manhattan with his wife and three sons, who he enjoys playing tennis with.