The Habana brand, which includes multiple locations and the non-profit organization Habana Works, is committed to using business as a medium to foster community. In 1998, Meenan launched the first Café Habana in a landmark diner in New York City’s NoLita neighborhood. Twenty years later, Café Habana remains an institution, whose footprint Meenan has expanded with additional locations in Brooklyn – including a first-of-its-kind eco-conscious restaurant concept, Habana Outpost, as well as locations in the Barclays Center and Malibu – and globally with its Dubai.
Sean Meenan is a New Orleans-based entrepreneur, best known for his creation Café Habana restaurant, his eco-conscious philanthropic organization Habana Works, the iconic Brooklyn Love Building, as well as his development of several emerging brands.
Over two decades, Meenan has developed keen investment and entrepreneurial instincts that have led to the founding and subsequent success of the Café Habana brand. As the initial investor and brand consultant of Etsy.com, the globally recognized online storefront, and co-founder of the Elder Statesman, a cashmere brand that won the coveted CFDA Award in 2012, Meenan continues to dedicate himself to a business model of responsibility and community, both inside and outside of the Café Habana world.
The success of the Café Habana restaurant model enabled Meenan to explore other areas of interest. In 2006, he launched Habana Works, a 501(c)3, to promote urban environmentalism and contribute to the communities in which he continues to do business. The non‐profit empowers neighbors and residents through free, hands-on environmental education programs. As part of Habana Works, Meenan developed Urban Studio Brooklyn (USBK), New York’s first intercollegiate design/build program, inspired by the work of The Rural Studio in Alabama, to create practical environmental solutions for urban challenges.
In 2011, as a physical manifestation of his commitment to Brooklyn and the arts, Meenan transformed a building across from his Fort Greene-located Habana Outpost into the Brooklyn Love Building, a unique commercial/residential space. Meenan designed a large mural of the illustrious Brooklyn native, Notorious B.I.G. along the façade. The adjoining side of the building has a transcription of his famous lyric, “Spread love, it’s the Brooklyn way” – a proud message of local love, community pride, and a mantra by which Sean and the whole Habana family tries to live by.
Additionally, he is Board President of the Greenwich Village Youth Council, and sits on the boards of the Develop Don’t Destroy Brooklyn Coalition and the Fulton Area Business Alliance as well as MoCADA (The Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts). He’s been featured on CNN, NPR, and in the NY Times, and has spoken at TEDxBrooklyn, on college campuses and the City Council of New York on topics of community development and urban environmentalism. Adding to his vast list of accomplishments, Meenan holds the New York City 2002 Light Heavyweight Metro boxing title. His traveling spirit has also taken him to 6 out of 7 continents and 49 out of 50 states. In 2012 Meenan moved down to the Big Easy where he will raise his young son, who he hopes will one day run Café Habana New Orleans, besides being a parent and a restaurateur Sean continues to enjoy being part of the community in true NOLA style.