VSAG’s Dan Simons, a proud alumnus of George Washington University in Washington D.C., was featured in the university’s GW Today newsletter article “From the Farm to Foggy Bottom Restaurant.” The article praises Founding Farmers’ commitment to sustainability, eclectic menu, and unique cocktails, as well as details Simons’ role in Founding Farmers’ success.
Though he majored in international business at GW, Dan says he realized early on that the restaurant business was for him. After working at the Exchange, Simons joined the local T.G.I. Friday’s his junior year and worked his way up to the company’s corporate training program by graduation. In 1994, Dan moved to California to work at the then-relatively unknown chain the Cheesecake Factory, where he met his mentor and future business partner Vucurevich. After a move to Dallas to help Vucurevich manage eatZi’s Market and Bakery, Dan returned to DC in 2004 to launch their consulting firm, Vucurevich Simons Advisory Group.
Coming back to Washington and opening Founding Farmers near campus was like returning home for Dan. “When I first visited DC in eighth grade, I was amazed by the city, and knew I wanted to go to school here,” he says, who now lives in Maryland with his wife, three children, and two dogs. “GW really made the city home for me, and it’s been great to return. I cannot imagine living anywhere else.”
The success of Founding Farmers has truly been a “dream come true” for him. “To have a hit like Founding Farmers requires a blend of many things, including good food and hardworking people,” says Dan. “But you also have to have a healthy dose of luck.”