Fertitta studied business and hotel management at Texas Tech University and the University of Houston, where he is currently a board member of the University’s Conrad Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management. During college he started a sales and marketing firm and expanded into construction and development after college. In 1985, he won the Residential Builders Model Award from the American Institute of Builders Design. In 1986, the Houston Jaycees named him “one of 12 outstanding young Houstonians.”
In 1988, Fertitta started a seafood restaurant chain called Landry’s and in 1993, he took the company public. Today, Landry’s Restaurants owns and operates over 300 properties in 36 states and five countries.
In recent years, Landry’s has played a pivotal role in the revitalization of Houston’s Downtown, Clear Lake NASA area and Galveston Island. With the opening of Downtown Aquarium, Landry’s was the first to successfully introduce family entertainment in a sophisticated urban setting in Houston.
Landry’s has been one of the best performing stocks on Wall Street and has received recognition from prestigious sources from Forbes to the Wall Street Journal. Ernst & Young honored Fertitta with the 1997 Houston Entrepreneur of the Year Award, and recognized him as a National runner-up that same year. He also won the National Legacy Award in 1998, for his creativity and design of Kemah Boardwalk. Fertitta devotes a substantial amount of time to civic services and currently serves on numerous boards. He is also active in the national and state political scene, including hosting private receptions and dinners in his home for the President of the United States.
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