Willie Degel

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Willie Degel
Born William Jack Degel
(1967-09-01) September 1, 1967 (age 49)
Queens, New York City, New York, U.S.
Occupation Restaurateur, Entrepreneur, TV personality, Informant
Years active 1989-present

Willie Degel (born William Jack Degel on September 1, 1967)[1] is a restaurateur and television personality. He is the founder and CEO of Uncle Jack's Steakhouse chain in New York City. He is best known as the host of Restaurant Stakeout, a reality television show on the Food Network.

Early life[edit]

Growing up in Queens, New York, Degel is the youngest of four brothers born to industrious parents and he developed his entrepreneurial spirit at an early age.[2][3]

At the age of 27 Degel was involved in legal troubles and spent time in prison for credit card fraud. He was sentenced to five years in prison but was released after serving only six months for cooperating with the government. His witness testimony against his friends/codefendants helped the government in prosecuting them, leading to their incarceration, and a shortening of his sentence. [4] Despite this, he has turned his life around; in 2005, he was named one of Crain's "40 under 40" entrepreneurs in New York City.[5]

Career and television[edit]

Degel opened his first restaurant, Hollywood and Main, in June 1990 in Flushing, Queens. Six years later with the help of mob funding he created Uncle Jack's Steakhouse. Today, he owns three locations in New York City. As of March 12, 2012, Degel stars in his own show entitled Restaurant Stakeout. For the series, he goes behind the scenes of different restaurants across the country with hidden cameras to examine their service problems.[6][7] He is also the author of "Inside the Mind of a Serial Entrepreneur", published by HarperCollins in May 2012. Degel appeared in the 2nd episode of Breakthrough with Anthony Robbins. Restaurant Stakeout has completed its fifth season.


  1. ^ MOVERS AND SHAKERS: William Jack Degel, Founder and Owner of Uncle Jack's Steakhouse, WhomYouKnow.com, August 17, 2009, accessed April 4, 2013.
  2. ^ Acken, Lori (2012-03-08). "The Will to succeed: Willie Degel". Zap2it. Retrieved 2012-06-19. 
  3. ^ Blatter Cohen, Lucy (March 12, 2012). "Willie Degel is on the prowl for faulty eateries". Amny.com. Retrieved 2012-06-19. 
  4. ^ Barry, Dan (1996-06-04). "Witness to Beating in the Hamptons Has Felony Record". The New York Times. 
  5. ^ http://mycrains.crainsnewyork.com/40under40/profiles/2005/william-j-degel
  6. ^ Starr, Michael (2012-02-21). "Queens restaurateur Willie Degel gets Food Network show 'Restaurant Stakeout'". NYPOST.com. Retrieved 2012-06-19. 
  7. ^ "Willie Degel". Libn.com. 2012-03-29. Retrieved 2012-06-19. 

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