In 1957, Ted moved with his family from Brooklyn, New York, to the Monterey Peninsula. A 1958 graduate of Carmel High School, he attended Monterey Peninsula College and graduated from Lewis Hotel Management School in Washington, D.C. in 1961. Ted also holds an Honorary Doctorate of Business Administration in Hospitality Management from Johnson and Wales University (1987).
As a young man with a dream, Ted formed a partnership in 1968 and opened the now-famous Sardine Factory Restaurant on Cannery Row in Monterey – with which he remains actively engaged as Chairman and CEO and Co-Owner. However, his entrepreneurial spirit didn’t stop there. Today, he is Chairman and CEO of the Cannery Row Company and Foursome Development Company, which own commercial buildings throughout Monterey and central California, including shopping centers, offices, retail stores and food and beverage outlets. The companies own 82% of Cannery Row, a renowned and historic tourism area that includes luxury hotels, art galleries, restaurants and shops. For more than four decades, the Cannery Row Company has committed itself to sensitively restoring and revitalizing the area, making it the world-class tourism destination it is today. In 2001, Ted and his partners purchased three boutique hotel properties in the Cannery Row area and formed the Inns of Monterey. A few years later, the historic Casa Munras Garden Hotel & Spa was added to the Inns of Monterey, and most recently, the Wave Street Inn. Along the way, Ted has been the driving force behind numerous ventures, including Pacific Hospitality Inc. (1983-2007), which held several franchise rights for Wendy's International.
Tirelessly dedicated to the development of the hospitality industry both on the Monterey Peninsula and throughout the United States, Ted has served as President of the following organizations: National Restaurant Association (1985-86), California Restaurant Association (1983-84) and Monterey County Hospitality Association (1974-75). He was Chairman of the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (1990-91) and Chairman of the U.S. Culinary Team Foundation (1989-1992), as established by the National Restaurant Association and American Culinary Federation. From 1992-93 he was Chairman of the Board of the International Gold & Silver Plate Society (under the auspices of IFMA - International Foodservice Manufacturers Association) and Chairman of DiRoNA - Distinguished Restaurants of North America (1992-1994).
In 1985, Ted was appointed by Governor George Deukmejian as a Commissioner of the California Travel and Tourism Commission, and served through to 2007, as one of the longest-seated Tourism Commissioner in the State’s history. In February 1995, he was appointed as California delegate to the White House Conference on Travel and Tourism, and in December 1996 was appointed by Governor Pete Wilson to serve on the California Italian-American Task Force. In January 1993 the Monterey City Council appointed him to the Citizens' Advisory Committee for Economic Development, (for the City's General and Economic Strategy Plan). He remains an active member of the World Travel & Tourism Council, (July 1997 to present), and was a featured speaker at the 2013 WTTC Asia-Pacific Summit in Seoul. In 2016 he was appointed to the U.S. Travel and Tourism Advisory Board, under the Department of Commerce.
He received the 2016 President’s Award from the Monterey County Business Council, which honors one individual for his contributions to the economic vitality, growth and preservation of Monterey County. He was also presented with the 2016 President’s Award from the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation. In 2015 he received the California Travel Association Tourism Steward of the Year award for extraordinary contributions towards protecting, preserving, and restoring, improving and expanding California’s natural, cultural and historical treasures. California State University at Monterey Bay honored him in 2015 with a Business Leader Award for his exemplary contributions to the business and economic development of the Monterey Bay region.
Ever an advocate for education and investing in future generations, Ted currently serves on the Boards of The Panetta Institute for Public Policy, the Boys and Girls Club of Monterey County, the Trustees for Stevenson School, the California State University at Monterey Bay President’s Council and Rancho Cielo Youth Campus. He has been a major contributor to scholarship funds through local and national educational foundations. To help raise money for these causes, he has hosted the annual Ted J. Balestreri Leadership Classic for more than two decades. Always concerned for the welfare of the community at large, Ted also served on the Board for the Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula and is a strong supporter of the armed forces, education and the Knights of Malta.
Some of the most prestigious awards recognizing Ted’s achievements in the hospitality industry include:
May 2017, awarded with the inaugural Legends Award from the National Restaurant Association.
November 1996, winner of the Boy Scouts of America, Monterey Bay Area Council "Humanitarian Good Turn Award"
October 1993, winner of the Hall of Leaders Award - given by the Travel Industry Association of America (TIA)
May 1984, winner of the Gold Plate Award, (the highest honor possible in the industry), from the International Foodservice Manufacturers Association
June 1982, recipient of the Golden Plate Award from the American Academy of Achievement
Ted has lived the “American Dream,” emerging from humble beginnings to become an instrumental figure in shaping the Monterey Peninsula into a thriving business center and world-renowned tourist attraction. If you ask Ted the secret to his success, he will probably tell you that it’s all about character and courage – and this drive and passion is evident in everything he does.
Ted and his wife Velma have been married for more than 40 years and have two sons, Theodore II and Vincent. Both are actively involved in the company business.