Erik Oberholtzer co-founded Tender Greens as a single restaurant in Culver City, CA in 2006.
Today he acts as Executive Chairman of the growing restaurant group. A Chez Panisse alum of the original slow-food movement, Erik was working as Executive Chef at Shutters on the Beach in Santa Monica, with co-founders David Dressler and Matt Lyman, when they had the idea for Tender Greens. They were frustrated that on their days off, they couldn’t afford to eat at the type of restaurants that served the quality food they had been accustomed to cooking. They recognized a lack of available and affordable options for good, real and whole food. The trio decided to start their own restaurant to meet this need and “democratize” fine dining, making it delicious, healthy, seasonal and sustainable at a price that is accessible, every day.
A thought-leader in work and life, Erik’s passion for incubating meaningful ideas has led to a number of innovative programs that are part of Tender Greens’ DNA. His personal values truly permeate throughout the Tender Greens brand, ranging from urban farming partners (StubHub Center, Gotham Greens, Local Roots), building relationships with trusted farmers and purveyors who champion responsible sourcing practices, his commitment to foster youth through TG’s Sustainable Life Project, a culinary internship program at Tender Greens that has graduated over 35 students, and more.
Erik grew up in Kutztown, Pennsylvania, and completed his undergraduate degrees in psychology and culinary arts at Temple University in Pennsylvania and Johnson & Wales in Rhode Island, respectively. Prior to Tender Greens, Erik spent over a decade working as a chef in some of the best restaurants in the world, including Bradley Ogden’s The Lark Creek Inn, Alice Waters’ Chez Panisse, Aqua with Michael Mina, Roland Passot’s Left Bank, Campton Place Hotel, the historic Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Hawaii, and Shutters on the Beach in Santa Monica. Today he lives in Venice, CA, but has temporarily relocated to NYC as Tender Greens expands on the East Coast. Erik is a wellness enthusiast and an avid participant in transcendental meditation, which he has practiced twice-a-day, every day since his sophomore year in college.