Gary Solomon Jr., Board Member
A native of New Orleans, Gary Solomon, Jr. has led the development and production of several of the country’s most popular events and attractions. He serves as the Consulting Producer for Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve in New Orleans, and was responsible for striking the deal to feature the nationally televised broadcast’s first-ever Central Time Zone countdown. Gary also co-developed the historic Civic Theatre in New Orleans, transforming the city’s oldest theater into a modern, flexible, high-tech event venue. As President and Co-Founder of Solomon Group, he has served as Executive Producer for major events that include the College Football Playoff, ESSENCE Festival, and Katrina 10. Under his leadership, the entertainment design, production, and management firm have been listed on the Inc. 5000 as one of America’s fastest-growing private companies for the past four years. Solomon Group creates eye-catching audience experiences for sports leagues and global brands including the NFL (Super Bowl, Draft), NBA (All-Star Weekend), NCAA (Men’s Final Four), NHL (upcoming All-Star Weekend), SXSW and more.
He has also overseen the creation of jaw-dropping exhibits and interactive environments for George Washington’s Mount Vernon, The National WWII Museum, and the upcoming Sazerac House currently underway. Gary was named to Inc. Magazine’s prestigious “30 Under 30: World’s Coolest Young Entrepreneurs” list, and has been featured in The Atlantic, SUCCESS Magazine, Forbes, and USA Today. Gary currently serves on the board of the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts and is the past-Chair of The NOCCA Institute. Since 2011, Gary and Solomon Group have been a part of Tales of the Cocktail and provided production services for the Spirited Awards as well as major brand activations for the world’s premier cocktail festival.
Neal Bodenheimer, Board Member
Neal Bodenheimer is the owner, bartender and restaurateur behind Cure Co., which is comprised of acclaimed bars, Cure and Cane & Table, in New Orleans.A New Orleans native, Bodenheimer discovered his passion for the beverage industry early, when he started working in a bar at 18-years old. He later went on to graduate from the University of Texas at Austin and embarked on a year-long trip around the world to explore global food and beverage traditions. Hungry to get back to the states and start working, Bodenheimer moved to New York where he invested six years working his way up the industry for respected restaurant groups including Steve Hanson’s B.R. Guest Corporation and Danny Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality.
When Hurricane Katrina hit, Bodenheimer felt the call back home to New Orleans. He opened Cure in 2009, which quickly gained national recognition as a pioneer of the New Orleans’ craft cocktail movement. Cure was named one of “America’s Best Bars” by Esquire, listed as one of the “Best Cocktail Bars in the U.S.” by Food & Wine, and hailed among New Orleans’ best cocktail bars by Forbes, Conde Nast Traveler, USA Today, Thrillist and Coveteur.
In 2012, Bodenheimer and his partners purchased an existing bar and restaurant in the historic Vieux Carre of New Orleans which they developed into a new bar and restaurant project, Cane & Table. With a focus on rum, proto-tiki cocktails and Caribbean culinary traditions, the establishment opened in 2013. Since then, Cane & Table has been named one of the “Five Best New Cocktail Bars in America.” by Bon Appétit, cited as one of the best bars in America by Food & Wine, Esquire Network, Eater, and THRILLIST and one of the best new bars in the South by Garden & Gun and Southern Living. Cane & Table also garnered a coveted semi-finalist nomination for the James Beard Foundation Awards’ “Outstanding Bar Program” in 2015. Bodenheimer and partner, Kirk Estopinal, continue to oversee the operations of Cure + Cane and Table.
Cure received the coveted nod for the James Beard Foundation Awards “Outstanding Bar Program,” in 2018. In the same year, Bodenheimer partnered with the Solomon family to take ownership of the Tales of the Cocktail Foundation, the beverage industry’s premier cocktail and spirits festival and non-profit.