Tim and Nina Zagat

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Nina & Tim Zagat
Awards1992 -- PC Computing names ZAGAT Taxi "Most Valued Business Product"

1994 - James Beard Foundation "Who's Who in Food and Beverage"

2000 - Ernst & Young "Entrepreneurs of the Year"

2000 - Harvard Business School "Entrepreneur of the Year"

2001 - Cellmania WAPPY names Zagat.com "Best Restaurant Site"

2001 - New York University "Entrepreneurship Hall of Fame"

2001 - President of France names Tim "Chevalier de l'Ordre National du Merite"

2001 - Crain's elects Nina as one of NYC's most influential people in tech

2002 - Zagats honored as "NYC Masterpieces"

2003 - Zagats inducted into "Hospitality Industry Hall of Honor"

2003 - Action Against Hunger gives Zagat its "Humanitarian Award"

2004 - China Institute "Blue Cloud Award" (with Henry Kissinger)

2004 - Nation's Restaurant News "Innovator Award"

2004 - Citizen's Union "Business Leadership Award"

2005 - The Culinary Institute of America "Hall of Fame"

2007 - Crain's elects Nina as one of NYC's Most Influential Women

2008 – Webby People's Voice Award for ZAGAT.mobi

2009 - Fierce Mobile Content "Top mobile app" for Zagat To Go for iPhone

2009 - Travel Weekly gives Zagats its "Lifetime Achievement Award"

2010 - Johnson & Wales Univ., "Honorary Doctors of Business Administration"

2010 - AOL "Best Paid Restaurant App for Travelers" for ZAGAT iPhone

2011 - Madridfusion 2011 honor for promoting the world's greatest cuisines

2011 - NYC & Company "Leadership Award"

2012 - Relais & Chateaux first ever "Art de Vivre Award"

2012 - France names Nina an "Officier" in "le Legion d'Honneur"

2012 - Pace University "Honorary Doctors of Commercial Science"

2014 - Tim receives Ellis Island Medal of Honor WHO GAVE

2015 - France names Tim a "Chevalier" in "le Legion d'Honneur"

2015 - Straus Media awards Zagats its Lifetime Achievement Award

2016 - Nina and Tim made "Living Landmarks" by NY Landmarks Conservancy

Reader's Digest Best Restaurant Guide

Nina Zagat and her husband Tim Zagat (Eugene Henry Zagat, Jr.) (b. 1940, New York City) (pronounced /zəˈɡæt/, rhymes with "the cat") are the founders and publishers of Zagat Restaurant Surveys. They met at Yale Law School and were both practicing attorneys when they founded Zagat Surveys.[1][2]

Early life[edit]

The Zagats got married during law school, graduated in 1966, and moved to New York where they became corporate lawyers.[3] Nina Zagat was an associate with the Wall Street white shoe firm Shearman & Sterling[4] and was most notable for her role in the administration of the Seward Johnson estate. Later they both got jobs in Paris, he at office of the Hughes Hubbard law firm and she at the Shearman & Sterling office. While there, they started compiling their own list of Parisian restaurants, of what they liked and didn't like, and conceived the idea for a new type of restaurant ratings guide.

Hobby becomes a business[edit]

When they returned to New York, they solicited the opinions of friends about New York restaurants, and the resulting compilation eventually became Zagat.[2] The couple published their first guide in 1982. It was for New York City and it sold 7,500 copies in local bookstores.[3] Two years later, it was selling at 40,000 copies per year and they quit their jobs as corporate lawyers to devote full-time to the enterprise.[3]

Zagat Survey[edit]

One reviewer described the methodology: "The philosophy behind the Zagat Survey is that instead of one lengthy critical review of a restaurant, the eating public is better served by a rating based on hundreds of responses. By tabulating the responses to detailed surveys, the Zagat Survey rates restaurants on a 30-point scale in the categories of food, décor, service and cost. It also provides price estimates and a pithy, paragraph-sized description."[1]

The company expanded to include other cities and market segments such as hotels, stores and clubs; in early 2008, the couple tried to sell the company for $200 million, but then withdrew the sale when they could not find prospective buyers at that price.[2] One reviewer wrote: "The Zagat Survey was once the sine qua non of restaurant guidebooks. Aside from a review in the paper, the survey's 30-point scale for food, service, and décor—and its quirky comments submitted by readers—was pretty much all that mattered to restaurateurs. While the book's ratings are still highly influential—and while the company remains highly profitable—the guide is no longer the indispensable possession it once was and it's clear that its influence has waned in recent years."[3] The relative decline was attributed to the company's "online strategy" which made the guide only available to paying subscribers.[3] In September 2011, the company was acquired by Google for a reported $151 million.

Personal life[edit]

The Jewish-American couple have two sons, Ted and John,[1] and live on the Upper West Side of Manhattan in New York.[5]

Stabbing incident[edit]

On November 15, 1990, Tim Zagat was watching Dances With Wolves at a Loews movie theater in New York City.[6] A man, seated in the same row, made loud comments before the movie began. During the film, the man stabbed Zagat until an anonymous moviegoer pulled the attacker off of Zagat.[6] The attacker fled out a side exit but police apprehended the suspect a few days later. Zagat received superficial wounds and was taken to Roosevelt Hospital.[3]


  1. ^ a b c "Tim and Nina Zagat Biography". bio. 2002. Archived from the original on 2009-12-13. Retrieved 2009-10-20.
  2. ^ a b c Sheryl Julian (April 22, 2009). "Critic of All He Surveys". The Boston Globe. Copyright 2009 The New York Times Company. Retrieved 2009-11-03.
  3. ^ a b c d e f "Tim Zagat (see section: Close Call)". cityfile new york. 2009-10-20. Archived from the original on 2010-01-02. Retrieved 2009-10-20.
  4. ^ "Tim and Nina Zagat: Move Over, Michelin" Business Week October 28, 1991
  5. ^ Vanita Salisbury (March 10, 2009). "Nina and Tim Zagat's Favorite New Yorkers Are Each Other". New York Magazine. Retrieved 2009-11-03.
  6. ^ a b "Publisher Is Stabbed In a Sudden Attack In a Movie Theater". New York Times. November 15, 1990. Retrieved 2009-10-20.

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