Our July employee of the month is server J.d. He is upbeat, fun, and extremely hard to dislike. He is mild tempered and professional. He walks the fine line of unforced competency and playful discipline, and does it real well. When we interviewed him, he actually interviewed us – he also came and checked out our restaurant as a guest prior to deciding whether he’d like to work for us. We are really glad we passed. He’s been an asset from day one, and his reward and title ofis well deserved. Congratulations, J.d!
Where did you grow up?
I was born in a small town of 2,600 people LeRoy, Illinois. It’s the dead center of Illinois, about three hours south of Chicago, but I claim Chicago, because nobody knows where I am from. My graduating class had 69 people in it. I got in the food industry there when0 I was 15 years old. I got my food permit and started bussing tables at this old bank that was gutted out and remade into a restaurant, called the The Old Bank Inn. That was the very first gig I had.
Uhm, I was definitely in 6th grade, her name was Abby Haller, I still talk to her till this day. That’s pretty cool. I kissed her by the big tires in our school playground. Sounds like your typical first kiss picture, but I remember it clear as day. I asked her out to this fall festival like two days later. We still talk about it now, it’s pretty funny.
First car was a…well, we named it “Goooooo” cause I loved that phrase from Ace Ventura: “Goooooo!”. I don’t know, my friends whenever they’d see me they’d yell: “Goooooo!” so I named it…it was a Hyundai Excel, a little hatchback, horrible for snow, horrible for the winter season in Illinois, it was stick shift, of course.
Childhood role model?
My oldest brother. He was just your typical awesome athlete, scholar, everyone looked up to him. He was a mentor, and he also watched out for me all through high school, it was great. My mom was a teacher. She teaches music, kindergarten through 6th grade. It was annoying and hard having your mom as a teacher. She knew everything about me before even I did, but my oldest brother, he lived the way for me, he paved the way, he stuck up for me all through high school.
Current role model?
Now it’s hard to find one person to symbolize all of that…I can find pieces in family members and famous people, but total package, I think it’s hard. It just seems like these days you have to find it in yourself, if it’s not there, it’s hard to find it in other places.
How do you like to spend your free time outside of work?
I am engulfed in music 100%. I love rock music, I miss it, it’s completely dead. But I’ve gotten a little bit into pop music, too, Lady Gaga, I love Adele, I love old rock like Silverchair, Pearl Jam, Nirvana, those types of bands. My family is really musical, all of us. I play the piano, I can play the guitar, I can sing, my whole family can sing, like I go home and we all gather around piano and sing. It’s kind of ridiculous.
What do you like most about your job?
The thing I like about Hussong’s the most is that the dots are all connected. It has a history, it has a niche, it has location. It has a backbone, like a family that it comes from. When I was searching for a job, I was looking for something that really had all the dots connected. And that’s why I chose here.
Ever had a concussion?
Never, the closest I came was in 8th grade. I was playing kickball in PE and I tripped over this girl’s foot and landed straight on my face, broke my front two teeth, my nerves were hanging out. So I kind of passed out for a minute…my mom worked at the opposite end of the school and she heard me scream from the PE, or felt me being in trouble anyways, one or the other because she came running. I opened my eyes and I see my mom and everyone searching for my two teeth all over the gym floor. Pretty bad.
Books or TV?
TV, and I’m ashamed of that, because TV sucks, and I am really picky and choosy about what I watch. I don’t just channel surf. I Tivo the shows that I like, mainly music and sports. I have a lot of books at home just waiting to be read…I just really need to get started.
Ski or snowboard?
If you had a superpower, what would it be?
I would, uhm…I’d like to glamour people. I think. That’ be awesome. I don’t want to fly or anything like that, I just want people to think the way I do when I want them to, you know? Just kind of glamour them, like a vampire, I’d like that.
Rolling Stone, I’ve been getting it for like 6 years. Now that’s it’s coming out every month, it’s not as good, but it still has the key articles that make it great. And I like The Advocate. Good magazine, too.
Blonds or Brunettes?
Growing up my whole life, blondes. After I grew up, brunettes, for sure.
Glass half full or empty?
Half full. Unless I’m drinking. Then the motherf*$ker’s empty.
What is your dream location to visit?
I want to go to Europe. I want to backpack all over there, every little nook and cranny, I really wanna do it. I wouldn’t even wanna do it for a month. I’d wanna go for like 3 or 4 months. And I am going to. It’s just a matter of time. When all your ducks are in a row, you can definitely do something like that. So I’m waiting a little bit.
Public figure, dead or alive, you’d like to bring to Hussong’s for lunch and why?
I would bring Amy Winehouse here. I found a new love for her and her music and who she was, and the downfall and demise of Amy Winehouse. I’ve just been reading so much about it and the press had so much to do with it and I just want to talk to her about it. Like: ”I know you are influenced by certain things, but really, truly, what influenced you?” You know? I’d bring her here, give the shock treatment, some blackberry margarita and just talk.
Favorite Hussong’s dish?
The skirt steak Chille Relleño. No specific reason, it’s just amazing, the garlic, everything about it.