Interview with Dominique Frio, Director at Hugo's Philly

Hi Dominique and welcome to The Industry Formula Meetup! Tell us a bit about yourself and your background.

I’m Dominique Frio, Director of Hugo Frog Bar &Chop House, and I have grown up in the Philadelphia restaurant industry. I started as a dishwasher at one of family's restaurants and worked way through the ranks at Philadelphia staples like Termini Brothers and Reading Terminal Market.

I joined SugarHouse Casino as a Beverage Shift Manager and was eventually called up to "meet some people from Chicago" After meeting the corporate staff at Gibsons Restaurant group, I was offered the position of General Manager. I have recently become the Director of Hugo's and Operations and Sales for The Event Center where we strive to cultivate a family environment and make sure the customer has a pleasant experience and is excited to come back.

Do you live in Philadelphia? If not, where do you call 'home'?

I used to live in South Philadelphia on 13th and Moore now I reside in Washington township NJ " Little South Philly" (I love my Driveway)

Driveways are everything! How long have you lived in the area?

34 years.

Love that your roots are here in Philly!

Why do you think it's so important to refer leads to one another, or to collaborate vs compete?

If we invest in each other, partners and businesses it is only going to make our city more valuable. People will want to visit the city, and this gives everyone the chance to be successful. the industry is competitive enough and by building each other up instead of tearing each other down we are creating a more unified hospitality experience.

What is your favorite Philly landmark to visit when you're on staycation, or being a tourist in your own town?

Penns landing, I love to walk and watch the boats.

Favorite thing about working for the company you currently work for:

My Staff, My team is my family away from my home. When you're working long hours and your away from your loved ones its good to have the support at work that you would have at home.

Favorite dish that your chef makes?

{Our chef is} Executive Chef Andrew Pearce, {and I love the} Filet with Mushroom Bordelaise. This was his final dish on Hell's Kitchen season 16 so I have him make this for me all the time.

Why do you love what you do?

I am able to make a difference in people's life. Whether it is planning the day of their dreams, or giving job opportunities to a team member.

Absolutely love that - it’s so great to see people passionate about what they do. What’s your favorite Philly restaurant(s) other than your own?

Marra's Pizza on Passyunk ave - Best Pizza Ever!!!

R2L- for the View

Sampan and Double knot for the experience- and my boss loves to go there when he comes in to town.

Who or what provides your career inspiration?

My Team and my family gives me the career inspiration that I need. If it were not for them, I wouldn't be who I am today.

Hospitality industry professionals work long (LONG) hours, what's your favorite way to unwind?

Spending time with my son and being able to watch the innocence of childhood.

Favorite Philly event to attend?

Besides being an Eagles Season ticket holder and attending every single game, the Red Ball or Philly style have to be some of my favorites.

Where do you get your daily dose of Philly news?

Philadelphia Business Journal / Inquirer

What do you wish people knew about you, your restaurant/venue, or the industry in general?

We are Philadelphia best kept secret..... Were trying to get the secret out. We have a world renown steakhouse and a Beautiful 10,000-sq-foot event center with FREE parking for all.

Favorite quote?

Keep smiling because life is a beautiful thing and there's so much to smile about - Marilyn Monroe