Recent Comments


    Profiles of Compassion and Courage: Andrew Freeman

    stuIf you admire the style, look and feel of a Northern California restaurant, hotel, event or other business, chances are that Andrew Freeman had a hand in crafting its image. Before founding Andrew Freeman & Company, he worked for many iconic restaurants, such as the Rainbow Room, Windows on the World and the Russian Tea Room. Kimpton Hotels and Restaurants wisely recruited him in 1997, opening the San Francisco door to this talented, ambitious gay man from New Jersey.

    The city has been a mecca for him, allowing him to live out and proud. At his namesake business, created in 2006, he takes great pride in his clients and the strong and successful team that he has created.

    SS: How did you become involved in your work?

    AF: I was once an aspiring actor who waited tables. Being a waiter led to being a restaurant professional and then to being a hospitality marketing professional. Along the way, I got to work with amazing people, restaurants, hotels and to really learn the business. I also did a small stint in cooking school.

    SS: Who have been your key mentors?

    AF: This is such a hard one, as I have many mentors in my life. Though many people won’t know his name, Joe Baum was my first mentor. He is the father of fine dining restaurants.  He created the Four Seasons, The Rainbow Room and Windows on the World. He truly showed me that I could combine my love of show business with the restaurant business and that I should push for greatness at all levels. Another mentor was my Mom, who gave me her absolute devotion and love.

    SS: If you could solve or fix a community problem, what would it be?

    AF: Homelessness, hands down!  I live in NOPA and see so much of it in the Panhandle. I know there are no easy solutions and it’s heartbreaking, but I wish I could work with a team to fix it, as I believe our city suffers on so many levels because of this issue. Next up would be hunger relief – from senior citizens to young families. People are not getting enough to eat and organizations like Meals On Wheels SF (of which I am on the board) need ongoing support on every level.

    SS: What achievement are you most proud of?

    AF: My company! Going into our 8th year, it’s been the craziest ride of my life. I am so proud of what we have created –not only for our clients, but also our commitment to the city and the organizations we love. I am also very, very proud of my charitable commitments—especially for the Richmond Ermet AIDS Foundation, Dress for Success SF and Meals on Wheels SF. On a side note, the Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International honored me as one of the 25 top minds in marketing. I am also extremely proud to be a great dad to my two beautiful yorkie sisters. It’s a lot of work, but I love them more every day.


    SS: What are your goals for the

    AF: More sleep. Taking my company to the next level, and to continuing to evolve. I would like to take my commitment to working with the LGBTQ community to the next level. And, for fun, I want to find the right guy and have a big Jewish wedding. Then, when I retire, I want to make my show biz comeback and open up a dinner theater where I will star in every production, of course. Annie will become “Andy,” and despite the fact that I will be 60, I will bring the houses to tears with my portrayal of an eight-year-old orphan girl.

    Stu Smith is board chair emeritus of Shanti Project, board chair of The Paratransit Coordinating Council, a member of the Castro Country Club Advisory Board and the LGBT Senior Task Force, and producer and host of the public access TV program “The Drag Show.” KQED has honored Stu as a 2013 LGBT Hero.