Daniel James Lindley, born July 20, 1977, is best described as a renaissance man. Most recognized as a James Beard Foundation nominated chef and restaurateur, he also vigorously pursues projects as an artist and designer.
Brimming with ideas, his passions are only tempered by his pragmatism. Lindley’s family moved from Sparta, Illinois to Philadelphia to Chattanooga by the time he was six. As the middle child of five boys growing up in the South, he found creative outlets in sketching and painting. His father, a history teacher, spent summers working as a homebuilder and enlisted the help of his teenage sons as additional laborers. Unknowingly, Lindley was forming a structural aptitude that would resurface when he began work on his own homes.
He began his cooking career as a teenager working in local restaurants before volunteering on a hospital ship bound for Europe and West Africa. Even in his youth, Lindley took pride in his work. Upon his return, he moved to Westchester County, NY to work for Chef Terry Harwood at Harvest on Hudson. He then worked at Gramercy Tavern under Tom Colicchio before returning home for the opening of now acclaimed St. John’s Restaurant in 2000. Deeply rooted in Chattanooga, he considers the unique community his hometown.
Lindley has always had an entrepreneurial spirit. By the time he was 23, he was the executive chef at St. John’s. Soon after, he became partner and took over ownership in 2004, at which time he conceptualized and opened the more casual Meeting Place next door. By 2009, his third restaurant, Alleia, opened its doors in the Southside of Chattanooga. In addition to restaurants, Daniel has designed and executed four residential projects; three in the Southside neighborhood and one in the historic Fort Wood district.
In April of 2014, Lindley parted ways with his former business partner and sold his interest in St. John’s and Meeting Place. During his tenure as executive chef of St. John’s, he received five nominations by the James Beard Foundation for Best Chef Southeast. He remains chef-owner of Alleia Restaurant as well as his latest venture, 5th & Taylor American Restaurant in the Germantown neighborhood of Nashville, which opened in the spring of 2015.
A father of two, Daniel is a devoted and patient parent who encourages his children, Keller and Jade, to be creative, critical thinkers. He currently splits his time between Chattanooga and Nashville.