Craig Zimmerman – PILLAR Restaurant Group

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Star City Six – Craig Zimmerman

PILLAR Restaurant Group (prgnebraska.com) is a company that consists of five main concepts, Goodcents Deli Fresh Subs, Venue Restaurant & Lounge, Piedmont Bistro by Venue, Cactus Modern Mexican & Cantina, and Venue Catering & Events. Craig Zimmerman is the marketing director for PILLAR Restaurant Group.

Tell us a little about your business.

We are a locally-owned, Lincoln-based company that began with a Goodcents franchise in 1999 and expanded by taking over Venue Restaurant & Lounge a little over six years ago. PILLAR Restaurant Group continues to grow under the leadership of Jeff Barclay and Scott Ritter.

How did you get started in the business?

I started serving at Venue while I was at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln (UNL), studying for my bachelor’s degree in advertising and public relations. One day, the executive chef told me, they were looking for a marketing person…and now here I am.

What has been your most important achievement professionally?

The work I did with the National Student Advertising Competition (NSAC) while at UNL. At the NSAC, we took second overall in our region and I received a gold medal from the Nebraska Addys for Campaign Commercial Production.

What do you see as one of the biggest turning points in your life?

I was born and raised in Lincoln, but moved to Arkansas with my mom and younger brother. In Arkansas, I began doing freelance photography, graphic, and web design. A turning point for me was when I decided to move back to Lincoln to go to UNL to improve my knowledge of the marketing craft and seek out new opportunities.

What is your favorite thing to do on a day off?

I just love being outside. Whether it’s camping, golfing, disc-golfing, or paddleboarding, anything outdoors makes me happy.

What is your favorite quote or the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

“We are here to laugh at the odds and live our lives so well that Death will tremble to take us.” – Charles Bukowski.

If you could choose only one descriptive word to be remembered as, what would it be?

Optimistic.

Which talent would you most like to have?

I really wish I could play an instrument. I bought a guitar but I haven’t given myself the time to learn more than just two songs.

What local non-profit organization(s) are you passionate about or involved with, and are there any special reasons why?

In my role for PILLAR Restaurant Group, I get to work with many local non-profits. Some that we worked with last year include CEDARS Home for Children and the People’s City Mission and in March we will be working with Tabitha’s Meals on Wheels program. Before this position, I volunteered my video production time to Matt Talbot Kitchen. All of these organizations do amazing work and I love having the opportunity to do what we can to help.

What is your favorite book or the last good book you read?

Candide by Voltaire. I picked it up one night and literally didn’t put it down until I finished it.

What is your favorite TV show?

One Punch Man. It’s a hilarious show about a superhero who has become bored because he can defeat any enemy with one punch.

What is your favorite local restaurant?

Trick question.

If our readers would like to contact you, how should they do so?

They can learn more about PILLAR Restaurant Group at prgnebraska.com and can reach me by email at craig@yourvenue.net.

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