The Perfect Father’s Day Gifts, According to Dads in the Restaurant Industry

Consider coffee accessories, a Grateful Dead apron, and a quality bread knife.

Design by Maggie Rossetti for Thrillist

Being a dad is a tough gig and the ties and cufflinks are no longer going to cut it as an appropriate Father’s Day gift to truly showcase gratitude. Instead, get dad something useful—both inside and out of the kitchen.

It’s hard to narrow down what makes the perfect gift for a dad. That’s why we tapped the experts, professional dads in the hospitality industry, to share their personal wish lists.

Whether he needs a brand new set of pans or something to up his coffee game, these Father’s Day gifts will wow way more than any article of clothing could.

Keith Benjamin

Co-founder, Senior Operating Partner + Director of Operations of Uptown Hospitality Group

“Some of my fondest memories growing up include waking up to the smell of my dad making pancakes on Sunday mornings. He used the same griddle for what felt like 20 years. When my dad was diagnosed with ALS a few years ago, he passed down his griddle to me so I could carry on the tradition with my kids. Unfortunately, that griddle is on its last legs so it’s time for a new one. Now that I have a 1-year-old little boy, it’s my turn to make pancakes! While my dad passed away in December of 2019, I know he’d be psyched to know we’re keeping the tradition alive. Calphalon does the trick every time!”

Julio Aguilera

Chef Partner of Copas

“Being that it is my first Father’s Day, spending time with my little family—Ann and baby Lux—has been at the top of my list. We love to spend time outdoors, especially exploring California’s natural beauty. I’d love some camping equipment, like this pop-up beach tent, for when we plan an outdoor getaway and grill some steaks, eat some tacos and enjoy our wonderful day outdoors together.”

Sandy Anaokar

VP of Marketing of Founders Brewing

“For Father’s Day, I want to sit and be comfortable. I love my family and kids, but all I’ve ever wanted is to just sit and do nothing. Just once. Just one day. My dream would be to get a zero gravity bean bag chair like a Moonpod and just float away into relax-land.”

Viraj Puri

Co-Founder and CEO of Gotham Greens

“I’ve recently had my eye on this Grateful Dead x H&B Blue Tie Dye Apron from Hedley & Bennett. I’m a longtime Grateful Dead fan—so much so that Gotham Greens recently launched our own collaboration with the band last month called Grateful Greens, a gourmet medley salad. This durable apron featuring the iconic dancing bears is fun and functional. With this apron on and some nice jams playing, I think even dinner prep and washing dishes can be a real good time!”

David Brown

Chief Marketing Officer of Alec’s Ice Cream

“Although often overlooked, an amazing grinder is the only way to make really good coffee. This beautifully designed gadget, the Fellow Ode Brew Grinder, is easy to use, quiet, and elevates my kitchen counter by simply sitting there. Better coffee makes for better fathers (at least I like to believe that)."

Derek Wallace

Co-founder of Kalamata’s Kitchen

"I’ve dropped more than a few hints that I want a six pack of Malai’s seasonal ice cream flavors delivered by Goldbelly. Pooja Bavishi creates the most delicious and unique flavors I’ve ever tried, like Sweet Roti & Ghee and Lemon Cardamom. We love trying them as a family, so of course I would share.”

Brian Roche

Operation Manager and Field Leadership Team Member at DIG

“For Father’s Day, I would love to get a new offset barrel smoker. Not an electric or an automatic feed, but an old-school offset one. I love being in my yard with my wife and kids while I cook. We play Uno, maybe set up the slip and slide, and enjoy the summer days and the smell of fresh wood smoking. Also once everything is done and we finish cooking, we always have some more coals on the offset to make some s'mores for dessert. It really makes for a great day with the family!”

Will Newman

Founder and Owner of Edley’s Bar-B-Que

“My best gift recommendation for dads who love to grill is a meat thermometer, specifically the KIZEN Digital Meat Thermometer. I am a big believer that you cook for temperature and not for time. We love to smoke our meats low and slow, and this great technology helps ensure the perfect temperature.”

Tom Bannister

Founder of Tom’s Perfect 10

“For Father’s Day, I would like a precision digital scale for measuring small amounts of spice. When I am making test batches of new granola recipes I have found that your average scale often struggles with weights below 10 grams. Enough winging it—this dad wants to get precise!”

Ryan Schmidtberger

Executive chef of Hancock St.

“One item I only recently realized I want at home is a countertop espresso maker, but without all the accessories. As my kids are getting older, we find ourselves home more often in the afternoons after long, morning activities and I find myself wanting a coffee. But I don’t want to go through all the trouble of the measuring, boiling, steeping of our much-loved French press. I’m spoiled at my restaurant because I usually have an afternoon double long espresso in a matter of seconds. I’ve also found myself in the market for a quality bread knife for all the bagels we eat. For some reason we still have an old, dull serrated knife from when my wife was in college.”

Felipe Donnelly

Executive chef and partner at Colonia Verde, Comodo and Disco Tacos

“I would love a personal assistant just to help me organize my life this year. But in lieu of pipe dreams, I really want to up my patio/BBQ game with an outdoor fridge and table to go next to my 26” Weber kettle. I’ve been digging this Brama, to help keep the steaks and wine cool.”

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Kat Thompson is a senior staff writer of food & drink at Thrillist. Follow her on Twitter @katthompsonn.