Founder and CEO

Hunter Pond

Founding Partner

Kyle Brooks

Partner, Vice President of Development & F.M.

Wes Freeman

Chief Operating Officer

JON PECK

vice president of
Marketing & PUBLIC RELATIONS

Lauren Land

PARTNER, DIRECTOR OF REAL ESTATE

MATT MCCLAIN

DIRECTOR OF TALENT ACQUISITION

ANALISA GARCIA 

Director of
Corporate Administration

Aubri Shock

partner, Chief counsel

Chris mcneil

leadership

Kathryn page

marketing manager

DIRECTOR OF OPERATIONS,
East Hampton Sandwich Co. 

MARC Messina

Vice President of Operations

JEFF LEE

Vice President of Culinary 

James Douglas

Chief financial officer

Kendall helfenbein

CHRISSIE NEMETH

Director of Training & OpERATION Services

creative project manager

Lauren Burgess

DIRECTOR OF OPERATIONS,
HUDSON HOUSE 

MARC BARGER

DIRECTOR OF OPERATIONS,
DRAKE'S HOLLYWOOD

JASON HART 

Controller

ALOK SAHA

 BEVERAGE  DIRECTOR

Nathan Carpenter

Director of Information Technology

Ezra Johnson

Founder and CEO

Hunter Pond

Bio: Hunter is the Founder and CEO of Vandelay Hospitality Group and serves as its current Chairman of the Board.

Hunter founded Vandelay Hospitality Group in 2012 at the age of 24 with the launching of the first concept in East Hampton Sandwich Company. He has since grown the business across multiple markets including Dallas, Ft. Worth and Houston. As founder & CEO, Hunter continues to lead the company into multiple different vertices within the hospitality space including full-service, fast casual, and drive-thru fast food.

Education: Texas Tech University, B.A.

founding partner

Kyle Brooks

Bio: Kyle is a founding partner of Vandelay Hospitality Group.

Growing up in the restaurant industry, Kyle has had a passion for the business for a significant part of his life. He followed that passion with his pursuit and receipt of a Restaurant Hotel & Institutional Management degree at Texas Tech University. After graduation, Kyle joined the Chili's Brand Strategy team at Brinker International. Presented with the opportunity to join the Vandelay team as a partner in 2014, Kyle left Brinker and has been overseeing marketing for the Vandelay brands ever since. 

Education: Texas Tech University, B.S.

Partner, VP, Development & F.M.

Wes Freeman

Bio: Wes Freeman is a Partner and Vice President of Development & F.M. for Vandelay Hospitality Group.

Originally from South Carolina, Wes attended Auburn University and majored in Finance. While assisting in the explosive growth of the fast-casual brand, Zoe's Kitchen, from 8 to 55 units, he made his way to Dallas, Texas. Seeking to continue his education in the hospitality space, Wes took a position with NCR to grow its hospitality software sales division. While visiting customers one day, he found his way to the original East Hampton Sandwich Company location and knew he had to get on the Vandelay team as soon as possible. 

Education: Auburn University, B.A.

PARTNER, DIRECTOR OF REAL ESTATE

matt mcclain

Bio: Matt is a Partner and the Director of Real Estate for Vandelay Hospitality Group.

 Matt had worked in all aspects of commercial real estate project leasing, buy, sell, development and tenant representation. Matt really found his passion for the business working with restauranteurs, and helping them achieve their specific goals.  Matt was raised in Texas and is the holder of a Texas Real Estate Commission’s salesperson license and a member of ICSC. 

Education: College of Charleston, B.A.

Vice President of Marketing & public relations

Lauren land

Bio: Lauren is Vice President of Marketing & Public Relations for Vandelay Hospitality Group.

 Lauren spent nine years in New York, leading business development in her role as Vice President, Strategic Partnerships & Special Events for the world’s leading auction house, Christie’s. Lauren lead the Americas team in creating luxury brand partnerships, cultivating new and existing business, and ultimately driving revenue for the Kering brand. She was responsible for all food and beverage, catering and site rentals for Christie's US flagship location at 20 Rockefeller Plaza. Escaping the cold, Lauren moved to the West Coast, where she built sales, marketing, and operational infrastructures for start-up luxury brands including The Private Suite at LAX, Accor Hotel Group's onefinestay brand, and a Silicon Valley platform that was later acquired by Expedia. 

Education: University of South Carolina, B.A. 

Chief Operating Officer

Jon Peck

Bio: Jon Peck serves as Chief Operating Officer at Vandelay Hospitality Group.

 Jon started his career in the restaurant business in 2006 after serving four successful years in the United States Marine Corps, including two tours overseas. After leaving the Marine Corps, Jon enrolled in school for Restaurant Management, and began working for Darden Restaurants’ growth brand, Seasons 52. Over his eight year career with Seasons 52 he saw the brand grow from 5 restaurants to 45 restaurants as a Managing Partner. In 2014, Jon joined Del Frisco’s Restaurant Group as Regional Director of Operations, whereby he oversaw 6 restaurants across two states.

creative project manager

Lauren Burgess

Bio: Lauren serves as the Creative Project Manager at Vandelay Hospitality Group.

Lauren discovered a passion for painting during her time at Southern Methodist University, where she earned a degree in Engineering and Creative Computation. Upon graduation, Lauren served as a creative professional for Siemens Smart Infrastructure, designing interfaces and branding for various clients. With her creative engineering background, Lauren blends smart, functional design with timeless composition. As an artist, her elegant freehand adds a polished flare to branding elements of Vandelay. 

Education: Southern Methodist University, B.A.

Human Resources Director

Aubri Shock

Bio: Aubri serves as Human Resources Director and Corporate Administration for Vandelay Hospitality Group.

She brings a culture-centric background and passion for employee and customer satisfaction. Aubri's numerous honors include several achievement awards for her project work, creation of company mission, vision and value statements, book publishing, managing international conference events, and creating a company culture. 

Partner, chief counsel

Chris McNeil

Bio: Chris McNeill of Block, Garden & McNeill, serves as Chief Counsel for  Vandelay Hospitality Group in all legal matters.

He is an experienced mergers and acquisitions specialist, along with securities and blue sky law, financial transactions, and corporate governance.  He previously worked as an Associate with Fish & Richardson P.C. in the Corporate and Securities group (2003-2007) and as an Associate with Fulbright & Jaworski L.L.P. in the Corporate, Securities and Transactions Department (2001-2003).

Education: The University of Mississippi, B.A. summa cum laude; Harvard Law School J.D. 2001; Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy

Bio: Kathryn serves as the Marketing Manager for Vandelay Hospitality Group.

 She began her marketing career in the Dallas technology start-up world, helping to create a mobile app based around large events and conventions. Discovering a passion for events and bringing people together, she went on to work in events for Boka Restaurant Group in Chicago. There, Kathryn solidified her love for the hospitality industry—realizing that it is truly magical to create and be ringside to some of the greatest moments in people’s lives. 

Education: University of North Texas, B.B.A. 

Kathryn Page

Marketing Manager

Bio: Marc serves as the Director of Operations of East Hampton Sandwich Co. for Vandelay Hospitality Group.

Transcendentally exposed to the hospitality industry at a young age, Marc was raised in a household intertwined with the workings of culinary operations. This led to early success in his career, serving as a chef for an eight figure operation at the age of 19. Since then, Marc has been leading the culinary team at several different restaurants in the Dallas area, most recently Del Frisco’s, before joining Vandelay Hospitality Group. 

MARC MESSINA

DIRECTOR OF OPERATIONS, East Hampton Sandwich Co. 

Bio: James Douglas serves as Vice President of Culinary at Vandelay Hospitality Group.

For the past 22 years, James’ career in the culinary world has been with Hillstone Restaurant Group. James completed workshops at The Culinary Institute of America Grey Stone with HRG in 1999-2001, and he extended his skills to all outlets of the organization. After serving as a General Manager, James went on to lead the Culinary Program for many locations nation- wide. James has been recognized throughout his career for his strong leadership, high stan- dards, and undying commitment to excellence.

JAMES DOUGLAS

VICE PRESIDENT OF CULINARY

Bio: Jeff Lee serves as Vice President of Operations at Vandelay Hospitality Group.

Jeff began his career in hospitality with the Hillstone Restaurant Group in 2002. Over the next fifteen years, Jeff worked his way from a junior management position, to various senior leadership positions, including Executive Chef and Market President, playing a key role in restaurant design in construction for multiple locations throughout the US. Next, Jeff joined Dream Hotel Group as Vice President of Food & Beverage and Development. During his four years at Dream, Jeff was tasked with growing the F&B internally across 18 existing lifestyle hotels, and the development of an additional 25 projects worldwide.

JEFF LEE

VICE PRESIDENT OF OPERATIONS

Bio: Kendall Helfenbein is Chief Financial Officer for Vandelay Hospitality Group, overseeing accounting, finance, treasury and compliance.

 Kendall spent the first 4 years after college at KPMG then the next 6 at two other large regional accounting firms. Kendall then became CFO of the largest H&R Block franchise ever with 630 locations in multiple states. After the sale of H&R Block he became CFO of Romacorp, Inc. owner and franchisor of Tony Roma’s with 150 restaurants in 30 countries and during that time was named CFO of the Year by the Dallas Business Journal. He has also been CFO of a 45 office medical practice and CFO of a staffing firm with 80 offices in the United States.

Kendall Helfenbein

Chief Financial Officer

Bio: Chrissie serves as Director of Training and Ops Services at Vandelay Hospitality. 

She started her career with P.F.Chang’s in Tempe, AZ where she went on to open multiple locations across the United States for P.F.Chang’s. Chrissie continued on to become an Operating Partner for 10 years. Afterwards, Chrissie spent the past few years as a Director of Training and Operating Partner at Fox Restaurant Group, specifically focused on their high-growth brand North Italia.

CHRISSIE NEMETH

DIRECTOR OF TRAINING 
AND OPERATION SERVICES

Bio: Analisa Garcia serves as the Director of Talent Acquisition.

Analisa began her career in hospitality as an hourly employee at Landry's in 2007. She discovered her passion for people and leadership very quickly, and went on to hold various management positions within the company. In 2016, she joined the Talent Acquisition team, where she supported 2 brands with a total of 150 restaurant locations nationwide. In addition, she has supported various growing brands with corporate, management, and hourly recruitment. She is committed to providing a people first recruitment experience, and
creating relationships that last a lifetime.  

Analisa garcia

DIRECTOR OF talent acquisition

Bio: Marc serves as  Director of Operations for Hudson House at Vandelay Hospitality. 

Marc’s career in hospitality began with Hillstone Restaurant Group in 2011. Over the course of 10 years, he managed and developed numerous concepts with HRG throughout California and Texas. His experience in managing reputable brands alongside a passion for growth have enabled him to create diverse, quality driven teams rooted in a culture of positivity.


Marc Barger

Director of Operations, Hudson House

Bio: Jason serves as  Director of Operations for Drake's Hollywood at Vandelay Hospitality. 

Jason began his career in the hospitality industry in 2011, starting out at Sushi Samba in Las Vegas. Over the next 5 years, he took on numerous leadership roles, including overseeing the opening of new locations from Miami to London. In 2016, Jason was brought to New York City to oversee multiple restaurants within the Mermaid group where he served as the Director of Operations up until his move to Texas in 2020. From there, he began his career with Vandelay Hospitality Group as the General Manager of Drakes’ Hollywood and within a few short months was brought into the role of Director of Operations. Jason’s success can be traced to a principles-based leadership style coupled with a passion for delivering results, developing people, building lasting relationships, and serving others. 



JASON HART

Director of Operations, DRAKE'S

Bio: Ezra  serves as  Director of Information Technology for  Vandelay Hospitality. 

Ezra graduated with a Bachelor's Degree in Electrical Engineering from Purdue University. 
He found his passion for Information Technology in 1998, and has been able to support small and large teams across various industries. He has lived in several cities including Denver, Houston, and now Dallas. He has implemented processes, accounting, and partnered with operational leadership to plan for rapid growth. His ability to cross-functionally support teams has
led to much success in his career.



ezra johnson

Director of Information Technology

Bio: Nathan serves as the Beverage Director for Vandelay Hospitality. 

Nathan Carpenter joins us most recently from Del Frisco's steakhouse in Plano, Texas as well as in his native Los Angeles where he was part of the opening team and ran Del Frisco's only speak easy, 'The Edith'. Nathan has also managed the bar for Wolfgang Puck at the iconic Hotel Bel-Air, as well as opened several other restaurants including 'Lukshon' by Sang Yoon.
A firm believer in education first, Nathan knows the value of empowering and coaching team members, giving them the tools they need to succeed. 

Nathan carpenter

Beverage DIRECTOR

Bio: Alok Saha is the controller for Vandelay Hospitality Group, overseeing Accounting, Finance, Payroll, AP, Banking, and Investor Relations.
Alok started as college professor and then Government auditor before coming to the USA and finishing his MSA in OCU. Alok Become Controller of the largest H&R Block franchise ever with 630 locations in multiple states. After the Sale of H&R Block he became the CFO of FastBucks Holdings with 60 locations in multiple states. Alok followed Kendall Helfenbein to Romacorp, Inc. owner and franchisor of Tony Roma’s with 150 restaurants in 30 countries as
V.P Finance & Accounting. Alok served as V.P of Accounting in DL Rogers
a major franchise with 245 locations of Sonic restaurants
before joining Vandelay Hospitality Group.

ALOK SAHA

CONTROLLER

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