Cory Harwell's culinary passion began in the dish room of a mom and pop restaurant in Woodstock Georgia at a very young age. Since those early days of washing dishes, Harwell has enjoyed working in nearly every position imaginable in restaurants from fast food, to fast casual, to casual, to fine dining and now uses that 20+ years of experience to conceptualize, develop and operate incredible restaurants.
Harwell partnered with Kerry Simon to create Simon Hospitality Group in early 2013 and they are working together to build the firm into an internationally recognized hospitality development and operations company. Since the firms creation, Harwell has spearheaded their very high profile projects; the development and operation of Chuck's A Kerry Simon Kitchen at the Hard Rock Hotel in Chicago, the opening and oversight of Simon Mansion at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Punta Cana, and most recently, the creation, development, and opening of the firms new signature owned/operated concept, Carson Kitchen, in downtown Las Vegas.
Harwell is also instrumental in the successful operations of Kerry Simon's other partnership ventures: KGB at Harrah's Las Vegas and Simon Restaurant & Lounge at Palm's Place. Harwell works closely with Harrah's and Elizabeth Blau & Associates, and each venue's management team, to ensure smooth running operations and maximize profitability.
In 1993, Harwell was afforded the opportunity to work closely with Marc Packer to open Harley-Davidson Cafe, Rue 57 and Angelo & Maxie's in New York City, and to build and operate Harley-Davidson Cafe in Las Vegas.
In 2003, Harwell was recruited by Tom McCartney at New York New York Hotel & Casino to help develop, build and operate Nine Fine Irishmen. After opening this highly successful restaurant and pub, Harwell was promoted within the organization and ultimately became the Vice President of Food & Beverage prior to his departure in December of 2008.
In 2009, Harwell created Uber Hospitality Group and owned three Round Table pizza franchises as well as Cana Tapas Kitchen & Bar. It was at Cana that Harwell met Chef Kerry Simon and the beginnings of a new friendship/partnership began. In 2012, the two finally had an opportunity to work together when Harwell took over the operations of Simon Restaurant & Lounge at Palm's Place. In 2013, the pair decided they would form their own company together and pursue their mutual interests. Simon Hospitality Group was born.
In addition to his passion for great food, great beverage, and great fun, Harwell is also an accomplished emcee and lends his talents to numerous industry and charity events.
Harwell lives in Las Vegas with his daughter Kayla James. He dedicates much of his spare time to charities that raise money and awareness for childhood cancers; including St. Baldrick's and Tommy's Gifts for Kids.