Tag Archives: Hussong’s

Titan Brands VP of Operations named Restauranteur of the Year

On November 8th 2012, our own Operations Manager Michael Jasilewicz Jr. (“MJ”) was awarded the “Restaurateur of the Year” award by the Nevada Restaurant Association for his overall contribution in the hospitality industry.

By MJ’s own words, this is absolutely a team effort: “The people I work with who make my job easy… our family at Hussong’s Cantina, Slice of Vegas Pizza and Titan Brands, we did this together.”

Many reasons for why this is a tremendous honor. Let’s start with the most obvious few: an accredited association recognizing the efforts of our team member and acknowledgement by peers being at the top of that list.

Beyond these reasons, and without taking any importance away from those, we have our on list of why this award means a lot to all of us.

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From Left: Tony Cordovana, Slice of Vegas General Manager; Susan Perkins, Hussong’s Las Vegas General Manager; Scott Frost, Titan Brands President & Founder; Noe Alcala, Titan Brands Corporate Chef; Michael Jasilewicz, Titan Brands VP of Operations & Founder; Brian Mangino, Titan Brands Operations Manager & Founder; Natalie Gula, Titan Brands Events Coordinator; Kim Repetti, Titan Brands Financial Controller.

First off, Titan’s path wasn’t straight forward, or made easy by family wealth, lucky timing or really, much of “lucky” anything. We are grateful to each and every investor from the big ones to the small ones, grateful to those who believed in our potential and our talents. Every building brick of Titan’s properties have been fought for, handled and laid with extreme effort, dedication, labor and discipline. There were several personal challenges including but not limited to the most severe one, Scott Frost’s dirt bike accident; there have been arguments, battles, let downs and disappointments, but mainly, there have been plain hard work filled days. All through this, we have been committed to upholding moral codes, honoring few simple rules and acting according to our core values. Recognition of this caliber validates not only our blood and sweat, but also our strength and faith in ourselves and the direction we chose.

Second, who are we kidding – Titan Brands was the under dog in the line up of nominees, and who doesn’t love a good under dog story? Titan, although undoubtfully an accomplished management company with a great deal of success, still younger than many companies up for the award. Our list of currently operated restaurants is, well – briefer. With a strategic focus on casual concepts, our resume is absent of the sexiness, loudness and extravaganza, often connected with steep but short term profits. And yet, none of this ever served as an excuse to compromise our values – good quality of food, great service and – the most noteworthy reason this award warms our hearts: employee happiness.

Employee happiness is a long-term investment. Its lack of instant return is why many companies choose to ignore it or somewhere down the road abandon it as their core value. Titan didn’t and will not.

We live and work in a city whose lights are often in stark contrast to its own residents’ emotional states. The money made, invested and played with, could easily fill up the Mojave desert. Side by side with all tourists busy forgetting about their real lives, are hard working people with sadly too real of lives, with normal problems like broken down cars, sick children, heartbreaks and losses much more serious than roulette money. These realities though are not welcome in the fun lights of the Vegas night. Employees in these lit-up, energy buzzing buildings become shadows with seemingly irrelevant stories, unfit as a backdrop for everyone’s personal Hangover movie.

On a daily basis, MJ chooses to make these stories (and their characters) not only relevant, but also heard. Through providing each working family member with a sense of belonging and purpose, positive work environment and integrity in the work place, he’s built a dedicated and hard working team. He’s made it his goal to share this skill and mindset with all managers working under the Titan Brands umbrella; he’s also learning much from his staff and his partners. On any given day (some are harder, some easier) MJ is striving to live out his motto: “Be the difference you wish to see in the world.”

As a testament how well he’s done at this, this family comprised of Husssong’s, Slice of Vegas and Titan Brands employees and partners, has chosen to re-pay him the favor and took the actual step of submitting him for a nominee of the Restaurateur of the Year, voluntarily sharing genuine words about the impact MJ has made.

The fact that the Nevada Restaurant Association chose to recognize this as one the greatest successes a man can achieve is remarkable and a more optimistic forecast for Las Vegas than any anticipated economic upturn.

Congratulations to MJ!

With gratitude and pride,
The Titan Brands team.


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?
Ski.

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.


The Dancing Dentist

Ever gotten so drunk at a bar you danced not on the bar top, but on a pillar? Ever done it so many times you actually forced the owner to re-arrange decor to prevent you from doing it again? Meet Ensenada local, Garcia Ocejo. This globe is mounted on a wooden pillar at the bar at Hussong’s Enseanda.  It was placed there in the mid 1960s, because Garcia, who was a dentist in Ensenada, would get drunk, jump up on the small pole in the bar and dance and sing Greneda.  The globe was mounted on the pole, to prevent Dr. Ocejo’s antics.  The photo below is an actual picture of one of Garcia’s performance.



True Story!

Just another night at Hussong’s Las Vegas


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