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An Appetite for Green Cards Drives EB-5 Investors to Chef-Driven Restaurants in Florida

An Appetite for Green Cards Drives EB-5 Investors to Chef-Driven Restaurants in Florida

Chef-driven restaurants in Florida are increasingly turning to foreign capital to fund the expansion of their concepts.

Chefs and restaurant operators are tapping foreign investors to invest $500,000 in exchange for U.S. residency under the EB-5 Investor Visa Program. Restaurants are highly popular with EB-5 investors because they create a significant number of jobs, the main requirement to obtain residency for the investors and their families, said Roger A. Bernstein, co-owner of American Life Investment LLC regional center. Mr. Bernstein is rebranding ALI as “EB-5 for Florida Regional Center” to expand its focus to include chef-driven restaurants and small- to mid-size projects across Florida. EB-5 for Florida Regional Center is currently raising capital for two successful and popular restaurant brands in South Florida: Tap 42 ( and Meat Market Steakhouse (

For information on EB-5 for Florida Regional Center visit or contact +1 (305) 455-3217

“There are many investors who prefer smaller projects that can be completed relatively fast,” said Bernstein, who is a veteran immigration attorney in Miami.  “Also, it is easier for them to understand how a chef-driven concept will create jobs, pay them interest on their loan, pay them back their investment and get their family the green card.”

Latin American investors are increasingly applying for EB-5 visas and investing in restaurants ran by experience operators as a means to obtain their green card. Since 2008, the number of EB-5 investors from Venezuela has jumped 93.6 %, from Mexico 85.5 % and from Brazil 82.3 %.

Miami Beach-based Meat Market is an example of a chef-driven concept that has attracted those investors to help fund the opening of its Palm Beach restaurant in 2014.

“In less than two years, investors are on their way to obtaining conditional residency, more than sufficient jobs have already been created and the investors are on track to have their capital returned by year five,” said David Tornek, co-owner of Meat Market now expanding across Florida.

EB-5 for Florida Regional Center is raising up to $10 million to bring Meat Market to Tampa, Orlando, Fort Lauderdale and downtown Miami. The regional center is also raising $10 million to bring Tap 42 to Midtown Miami, West Palm Beach, Miami Beach, and Aventura.

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