As a senior executive at the House of Blues, it was Arich Berghammer's responsibility to visit New Orleans after the Hurricane Katrina disaster to check on the chain's location in the French Quarter.
During his trip to the Big Easy, he got a call about a job opening as the chief operating officer of SBE Restaurant Group, a restaurant acquisition and development company.
"I was asked not to hang up," said Berghammer who was initially reluctant to consider what he now describes as a perfect opportunity. "With my travel schedule I was gone nine months a year. I happened to get the call on my third wedding anniversary. I was away from my wife and that bothered me."
So he took the job. In his new position, Berghammer is working toward opening two restaurants in Los Angeles, including Katsuya, a 6,300-square-foot sushi establishment developed with the help of designer Philippe Starck, as well as a 2,000-square-foot eatery on Sunset Boulevard.
Berghammer also oversees SBE's operating restaurants and nightclubs: "I'm in each of our restaurants every day. I'm a firm believer that you can't manage products sitting in your office. You have to have soul."
He is currently working on 12 projects simultaneously dealing with a range of issues from conceptual change to remodeling, from new brand openings to upcoming partnerships.
"I get to use both disciplines I spent years of my life cultivating. My job incorporates work with clubs and restaurants."
He lives in Beachwood Canyon under the Hollywood sign with his wife and their two teacup terriers. He enjoys ice speed skating in his free time. "I've been doing it since I was 7 years old. I bring my skates on business trips and skate in certain cities when I have time off. "
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