Category Archives: Somos Hussong’s

FOH July Employee of the Month, J.d S.

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 of Employee of the Month is well deserved. Congratulations, J.d!

J.d is a huge music fan. He also has an interesting choice of superpower. Read on.

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.

First kiss?
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?
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.

Favorite magazine?
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.


Meet Hussong’s New General Manager

Dan Shrum has really done it all. Red Square, Roy’s, Stratosphere, Ruth’s Chris and many more. If you’re our guest, let us introduce you to the true gentleman of restaurants; calm, accommodating, elegant and stoic. You a Hussong’s employee? Let those blue eyes sooth you into comfort and find yourself told straight up exactly what you need to hear with your guards all the way down at your ankles. And that is precisely what landed Dan the job. He knows what he’s doing, he is out to do it and yes, he wants to have fun doing it and will land his support to all staff to create some amazing atmosphere for both guests and employees, as he believes in utilizing the synergy of these two seemingly separate worlds. But if he’s told you once; he’s told you enough times. Unless there is a clear and obvious question mark at the end of his sentence (and you WILL know), he’s not asking you. Are you in to dine with us? Bathe in the warmth of his genuine smile. Note for both parties – Dan actually has a great sense of humor. The fact we needed to clarify this, gives away that it’s probably not your commonly practiced and understood humor, but it’s there. Take your time finding it, because Dan is just getting comfortable. We’ll give you a hint for when you come by to say hello to Dan – ask him about golf and watch him light up the room. For those of you curious to know, MJ is still involved with Hussong’s Las Vegas‘s operations as a Director of Operations for Titan Nightlife Group, but is simultaneously working on other restaurant projects.

How did you grow up?
I grew up in the San Francisco Bay area, as your typical sports oriented male, with a couple of sisters. Still love the the SF bay area, try to get back there as much as possible. It’s one of the prettiest places in the country, which I’ve seen quiet a bit of.

First kiss?
You realize I am old, right? Oh my god…first kiss…wow. Uhmmm, you know I am not exactly sure who it was, but it had to have been, we were involved with the Blue Devils, which is like a marching band and I was young, at that age when you start liking girls…I can’t remember exactly who it was, but it must have been during that interaction with the opposite sex on regular basis.

First car?
1970 Chevelle Malibu.

Childhood role model?
49’s Joe Montana, the closest I knew to God (laughing).

Current role model?
Definitely Roy Yamaguchi, really admire his work ethic. Also Chris Sullivan, the founder of Outback.

Ideal way to spend a weekend?
Playing golf. Easy!

Why did you choose this industry, or did you?
I have someone I love/hate that got me into this so long ago and I will never forget it. I graduated from college, my major was physical therapy, I was accepted to go to grad school at Eastern Michigan for athletic training where I was going to get my masters in training. But before I was going back to school I moved back to Concord to my folks’ for the summer and was working in a local athletic club as a fitness instructor, and one of my clients was Mark DeSaulnier (current CA senator) at the time owner of the TR’s bar and Grill, worked out with him, helped him – you can throw him in my role models as well, by the way – anyways, so I am sure I was complaining about not making enough money (laughs) and he told me that he could teach me how to bartend. So, you know, I go down there and he teaches me how to bartend and next thing I know I am, you know, working more at the restaurant because I am making quite bit more than the gym and I decide I am gonna take a year off before I go back to school so I spent a year as a single bartender, you know in my early 20’s…what can I say? Have been in the restaurant business ever since. Bartender, server and then finally with Ruth’s Chris I asked to get into managing, I started by being a part of the training team and opening Ruth’s back in the day when they were going crazy and then slowly moved up to being a GM and…here I am.

Career goal?
I’ve been fairly happy with my career, all the different concepts I’ve been a part of. I’ve been offered other jobs, but you know, I don’t want another job. I’d rather do something where I can make a difference, instead of just working for a paycheck, I’d rather take a chance and get involved with people that are risk takers and have plans to build and create things, so – here I am!

Ever had a concussion?
Yeah. I played football. I wish I could remember how many.

Would you rather volunteer at a senior center or watch a chick flick?
Unfortunately working at a restaurant I don’t really have the time to do either…but I like chick flicks. I like romantic movies.

Ski or snowboard?

Super power of choice?
Uhmmm…well…now that I am getting older I guess to somehow slow down time. Is that a super power? Somehow change my metabolism so I age at a slower rate…that’s my super power.

Boxers or briefs?

Brunettes or blonds?
My wife is a blond…but is anyone really anymore truly 100% blond? I mean I always ask her, and she says she is, but I think she’s more like a light brunette…so I have a mix of both! (laughs)

Glass half empty or half full.
Half full.

Dream location you’d like to visit?
Scotland/Ireland golf trip.

Favorite Hussong’s dish?
Lobster Tacos, but, you know, let me think about it. I mean, they are all good…nachos are really good, too. Our fajitas, too. I can’t just choose one.

Meet our January FOH Employee of the Month, the friendliest bartender on The Strip – Cherise

Ahh, sweet, sweet…Cherise! You know how part of being a good bartender is also about having that edge, that tiny drop of attitude? Well, we are still training Cherise on that. So far, she graduated from giving our drinks to her guests for free to actually charging for them, but we still can’t get her to stop refusing tips. She’s that nice. We are also debating whether or not we should introduce the word “No” to her. But who would then work all the hard-to-fill shifts? Cherise’s gorgeous smile rarely takes a break and we think she might the only female in Vegas whose mouth hurts for all the good reasons. Oh yeah, did we mention – she makes great drinks, too! We’d even say killer drinks…but she might report herself to the authorities for that. So come hang out in the presence of our very own private sunshine, enjoy the warmth she exudes, as she gets you sweetly, sweetly wasted. Nothing’s for free.

Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Las Vegas. Born and raised, I have moved a lot over the years all over town. I think I have really learned a lot through these experiences and watching what my parents went through.

First kiss?
That would be my next door neighbor at the time.

First car?
It was a 2003 Chevy Cavalier.
Who was your childhood role model?
That would be my uncle Greg.

Current role model?
My uncle Greg is still my role model.

How do you like spending your free time outside of work?
I definitely enjoy just being around my friends. It doesn’t have to involve alcohol or anything big, just being together and going out and doing something. It could be going to the batting cages or shopping. I actually am a big shopper, that’s where I was before this interview.

What do you most like about your job as a bartender?
It’s fast pace, I’m not just standing around, and I’m constantly moving around talking with people from all over the world. I’m a people person so that’s another aspect of the job I really like. It makes the time go by a lot faster when you’re busy like that. It’s a really fun job, I really do enjoy it.

Have you ever had a concussion?
(Laughs.) No.

What would you rather do, watch an action film or volunteer at a senior center?
I really don’t like action films; I would probably volunteer at the senior center. Possibly, I guess it would really depend on the movie.

Do you ski or snowboard?
I do snowboard. I like going to Brian Head in Utah whenever I have the opportunity.

If you had a super power what would it be?
Either move stuff with my mind or freeze time I guess. (Laughs.)

Blonds or Brunettes?

Glass half full or half empty?
I actually see the glass half empty. I can be more of a pessimistic person, but that is something I am working on.

What is your resolution for 2011?
I definitely want to accomplish more and make this year better than last year.

Where is your dream location to visit?
Either Japan or Europe would be dream location to visit. I love sushi and would love to go to Japan and try the sushi there.

What is your favorite Hussong’s Dish?
I love the Carne Asada, it’s delicious, but I like all the food here though. Everything is delicious.

What is your favorite drink to make?
Either a Bloody Mary or the El Pepino.

If it was my first time coming into Hussong’s what drink should I try?
I would first ask you if you like spicy; if you’re a fan of spice I would recommend the El Pepino, which is one of my personal favorite drinks. If you’re not a fan of spice I would recommend our original margarita. You can never go wrong with a Hussong’s margarita.

Meet Louis J.F., Front of House Employee of 2010

Louis’s pet peeve are disarranged bar stools, and his favorite thing must be contradiction. Why else would someone who is afraid of heights choose flying as his super power? And that’s just the beginning. To get a direct answer from him is nearly impossible. Not for a lack of opinions. Behind those friendly eyes is hiding an overheated, never slowing down thinking machine that exerts as much energy at disputing his own point as it does coming up with it. He’s funny and non-traditionally humble for a Las Vegas native. Still, there’s is a surprising amount of defiance and assertion in this quick-witted Hussong’s server, but the guests that he chooses to treat like his own private party would never know it. This may be what earned him the “Employee of the Year” title. That, or the fact the when confronted about a mistake (and he makes those, occasionally), for once his over analytical chatter quiets down, he zones his eyes somewhere to the distance as if to scan escape routes, but then nods his head in acceptance of fault in a shocking abbreviation states: “Yeah, I screwed up. Won’t happen again.” Or, maybe he was rewarded for his stellar spelling skills – ask Louis for a word that starts with the letter Q; you’ll be surprised what he can come up with!

Tell us about how you grew up?
I grew up in Las Vegas, born and raised, I am a rarity…Middle class, pretty standard except for when I was growing up my parents were still married, it’s one of those things where it was crazy how it switched, most kids going through the craziness of their parents’ divorce, but my parents are still married. Basically all of my childhood friends have divorced parents, whereas mine are still together. And happy.

First kiss?
I think I was actually 6 years old, in my garage, with one of the girls down the street…it was kind of like a dare with the other kids.

First car?
It was a Chevy S10, 1992. The car was 10 years old when I got it, it was a stick, I had to learn how to drive it, which I am glad, because now I will forever know how to drive a stick.

Childhood role model?
Lots of them would have been just like sports people…players. I grew up playing baseball, so I liked Rickey Henderson, Mark McGwire. I did want to play baseball, but when I got to high school I ended up actually doing theater through out high school…they had a shortage of guys from my class. Plus I was always intrigued by theater…and you know, tons of girls, too. But back to my role models, pretty much like any kid, of course my dad, couple athletes – just like any kid.

Current role model?
Mmmm…I guess personally I just don’t want to single one person out, I’d like to be able to kind of see inspiration through different situation, different stories, not necessarily through only one person, one life.

Ideal way of spending the weekend?
I don’t know. When you are a server, you kind of don’t have any weekends. So having one would be ideal in itself. Perfect way spending it would be going to San Diego and making it a four day weekend. I love San Diego. I want to eventually live there.

What would you like to be one day?
Between like bunch of things…I wouldn’t mind majoring in psychology and becoming a psychiatrist or therapist, but I know that would take a lot of schooling. I mean, not that it can’t be done, but I ma 26 now and it’s like 8 years or something like that…I mean anything can be done at any age. I wanna go back to school in any case, and I’ve thought about it too, maybe restaurant management.

What do you like about being server?
I guess in some way I like satisfying people, showing them a good time. You are actually being like a host of a party, as if like that was my house out there and everyone is my guest at my party and I am just trying to show them the best time possible. I also enjoy lot of the team stuff about restaurants, reminds me of baseball. And those moments when you almost think you are not going to be able to handle things and then you stop thinking about the stress of that and just do it and then an hour goes by and you are like – I handled it, everything was good. That’s a good feeling.

Ever had a concussion?
No. Played some football, never been hit that hard, though.

Would you rather watch a chick flick or volunteer at a senior center?
Yeah, I don’t care. I think if it’s a goodly done chick flick, if it’s done kind of realistically, not all mystical and stuff, but like you know, within reason…you know, like the movie “Just like Heaven” with Reese Witherspoon, technically she’s like a spirit, a ghost the whole time or whatever, that’s still a good movie, like that’s a good chick flick, even though that’s kinda going against what I just said. But actually volunteering does kind of intrigue me, too.

Ski or snowboard?
I’ve never done neither.

Superpower of choice?
I guess I’d probably have to go with flying event though I am afraid of heights. But I think it’s the falling actually, so if I knew I could fly, then I wouldn’t have the fear of falling, because I’d be able to fly so I would never have to worry about falling.

Boxers or briefs?
Do I have to be honest or can I say what I wore last? Most Recently? Personally, I am comfortable with saying none.

Blonds or brunettes?
Definitely brunettes. Maybe it’s psychological because my sister and my mom are blonds, but I personally just prefer the look of dark haired women. I think it looks better.

Glass half full or half empty?
Depends on the situation.

Dream location you’d like to visit?
See I am kind of caught because, the rare times I have vacation days I always think: “Man, I should really go visit somewhere…” but I love San Diego so much, it’s almost like I don’t ever wanna be disappointed, like if I ever go anywhere else I might be let down. See, that’s the thing, since I have only so very few vacations, I may just as well go to San Diego, because I know I am going to have a good time.

Favorite Hussong’s dish?
Under the employee meals category or what I like the best? (Laughs.) I like the best Chile Relleno.

Nick, the Paper Pile Ninja

Our new office help Nick having a blast getting us caught up…can you tell we need him!?

17 Questions for our Sous Chef, Jesus

We believe that behind every successful business are many hard working individuals.  In our “Somos Hussong’s” series we’ll pick an employee each month and ask them 17 same/similar questions, to introduce them to you one by one. Please meet Jesus Guzman, our Sous Chef.

Our Sous Chef who occassionaly has to play plumber.

Some chefs scream. Some curse. Some throw stuff. Some grow quiet when stress gets to them. Some, although very few, smile. We are lucky to have the latter type in our kitchen. Jesus’s smile is one of those contagious ones, and he’s generous with it. Maybe because he grew up in the restaurant business, you will see him smile even during the worst rush and sweaty madness that often takes place in the kitchen on busy nights; he resembles an orchestra conductor as he serenely, but with purpose and authority navigates the kitchen team through the sea of meal tickets rang in in multiples. While never lethargic or passive, this once sponsored skateboarder possesses a grounded presence uncommon for his age, and a calm gratitude for what he has, that puts people around him at ease, making it obvious he’s not only comfortable and at home in any kitchen, but that he’s the type that’s simply at home anywhere in this world.

1. Hello, Jesus. Tell us how did you grow up?
Very poor. In the middle of the ocean. Surrounded by water…in Hawaii. It was good. Living on an island makes you appreciate what you have.

2. First kiss?
Oh wow, my friend’s older sister. She was 19. I was 13.

3. First car?
1988 Ford Bronco X2. Those…were badasses.

4. Childhood hero/role model?
My grandfather.

5. Current hero/role model?
My grandfather.

6. Ideal way to spend a weekend?
With my kids, somewhere in the ocean…nobody around, just me and my kids, big ol’ buffet line for when we are hungry. Nice weather…nice blue water…oh wait I’m describing Hawaii (laughs).

7. Why did you choose to be a chef?
I wouldn’t say I chose it, it chose me. Everybody in my family cooks. I remember cooking in the kitchen with my mom, with my dad, going to my dad’s restaurant. Just started out as a dish washer, as everybody pretty much does and just worked my way up…and then I just fell in love with it. It’s what I like doing.

8. What is your overall long term career goal?
To be an executive chef of some restaurant or a large chain of restaurants. But, all companies start out small. There is a restaurant back home, called Kona Mix Plate, that started as a little corner place. And now it’s one of the largest restaurants in Hawaii. So that’s what I’d like to be a part of (something that grows like that). I mean, who wouldn’t?

9. Ever had a concussion?
No. Well I don’t remember at least.

10. Would you rather watch a chick flick or volunteer at a senior center?
Chick flick. (Although Jesus would most prefer top watch a “chick fight”, as long as there is mud involved.)

11. Ski or snowboard?
Snowboard. I actually used to be sponsored in skateboarding. Until I broke my leg in three pieces. Skateboarding (chuckles).

12. Super power of choice?
Flying sounds nice.

13. Boxers or briefs?

14. Blonds or brunettes?

15. Glass half full or half empty?
Half full.

16. Dream location you’d like to visit?

17. Favorite Hussong’s dish?
Enchiladas Plazeras.

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