Michael Babin founded the Neighborhood Restaurant Group (NRG) in 1997 with the goal of creating unique, distinctive and exceptional restaurants and food-related businesses that reflect and enrich the communities in which they are located. Before entering the restaurant business, Michael worked in the political arena, first as a Legislative Aide handling Budget and Finance issues for US Senator J. Bennett Johnston, and then as a lobbyist and business consultant for Charlie McBride Associates. His consulting practice included business and strategic planning, capital raising, and creating strategic partnerships.
In 1997, Michael opened the Evening Star Café in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, Virginia, and a year later opened Planet Wine, an adjoining wine shop. In the seventeen years since that time, Michael has managed the expansion of the Evening Star to include a wine bar and private events room; the creation of 550 Events & Provisions (a catering company); and the openings of Vermilion, Tallula, EatBar, two locations of Rustico, three locations of Buzz Bakery, Birch & Barley, ChurchKey, Columbia Firehouse, GBD Fried Chicken & Doughnuts, three locations of Red Apron Butcher, Bluejacket Brewery and The Arsenal, Iron Gate, The Partisan, and The B Side, all under the auspices of the Neighborhood Restaurant Group. His award-winning restaurants have been featured in a host of publications ranging from the Washington Post and Washingtonian magazine locally to the New York Times, Bon Appetit, Food & Wine, Saveur and many others nationally.
Michael founded and serves as Chairman of the Board of Directors for the Arcadia Center for Sustainable Food & Agriculture, a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit entity dedicated to making positive change to the food system in Washington, DC and the surrounding region.
Michael Babin is a board member of the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington and Think Local First. He received a Bachelors degree from Yale University, his commission as an officer in the US Army Signal Corps, and a Juris Doctor degree from Georgetown University Law Center.