Baton Rouge, Lafayette, LSU discussed on Discover Lafayette

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Our guest today is rough rodrigue owner of her feet house on the river in Lafayette as well as refuse in Baton Rouge and Rufino catering in downtown Baton Rouge all. Sec Guard who played at Lsu from Nineteen eighty-six their nineteen eighty-nine roughened has received many accolades for his work in the hospitality industry including Louisiana's marketer of the year in two thousand sixteen and restaurant tour of the year by the Louisiana Restaurant Association. In two thousand fifteen now ruffin. Everybody has a story but you have a really good story. Thank you for joining us on discover Lafayette and thank you for being so patient with me as I tape us from my home Thank you for for having me Made me feel pretty good about myself after you Introduced me like well. You have a lot to share. And of course we're talking during the corona virus that you've been through a lot of you've been in the hospitality industry following a successful college football career. So why don't we start with you? Know your background and kind of lead us to where you are today. I was born and raised until whose parish graduated in one thousand nine hundred eighty five One tell us you kind of followed. My Dad's footsteps and my dad was was a was a great player for the Tigers. In the early sixties. You know serving the Chinese banded and all those famous teams they had back then and same. Same name was referenced. Rodrick senior is Rodrick senior. I came in eighty five and defensive player in high school and then switched to offense when I gotTa tell us you. Red Shirted in nineteen eighty five and a first year of eligibility was eighty six and that was the year with coach. Bill on We WanNa Sec Championship and then eighteen eighty seven. We had our best team winning in the One the lower bowl game to South Carolina and up now number three in the country in one thousand nine hundred eighty eight. We were Sec Championship again and eighty nine ad. Happy in an essay stadium. Yeah I just ate. She was just so cool. It was you know when as big as it is today with both the end zone closed and all the sweets and all you look up now and it's just it's a monster but yeah the fans the people the all the all the wonderful things I got to do need for tasks to the great career. Had you grown up going to the Games was your dad That he continued to go to the football games. He didn't miss. I don't think he's the one in college. Your mom. They've they went on the road they had a crew they they had. They had a good time. Good time to be a tiger fan me on the Road Games. And all the fun they had so we They didn't fit miss anything and you would think we wear. How STAYED ONE YEAR? Interviewed him in the stands. Oh Gosh so. There was a lot of fun. Yeah Yeah so you graduated in marketing. Thank you tell me I did the build the school and graduated in Spring of Nineteen Ninety With a degree in marketing and really didn't know what to do with it so But I knew I had a little football left and The World League of American football which in being the NFL year game call. And then I went. I went to play play in London and Barcelona and include Minnie and all that had a had a really fun time for year. Then got hurt. Montreal in pretty much ended my career and came back home and went to Went to work in the In the industry Smock beverage here. It's it's sorta like Schilling of Lafayette night and Worked FOR THEM. In marketing and sales and at the note a lot of people did advance really had a lot of fun for about five years and then moved onto the show. The restaurant industry After my good friend. Tj MORAN WHO's the First Franchisee? Ruth's Chris Steak House called in and wanted to open up a restaurant with at the time. Coach Gerry Dinardo whose Italian in New York had a lot of success at Lsu so we used his name and head a lot of fun with open an Italian restaurant but he wasn't. Success won the field after that in the prior. So that's when we bought his share out in Change Nature to Fino's. I think it was two thousand. Two thousand two thousand your idea. Well I'll give you an idea. I mean there's a lot of customers that claim they. It was pretty easy transition. Yeah pretty easy transition being with my name which is Cajun of Cajun descent. Change into an Italian kind of just had an oath to the the rough. And then you get you know some of the most popular battalion wine in the world is made it made it real easy and I want to mention teach Moran was not just the first Franchisee of routes but he also is the T. J. I mean I know. He's recently deceased but he's the TJ TJ ribs and he's just iconic so this must have been exciting to be working with people that were the best in their field and that's why I got into the restaurant business. I wouldn't have done. It is at a mentor. Like like him. He was the best he was successful with with Chris. All around the country. He is not mentioned. Tj Ribs huge success and he had nympheas Mexican restaurant which is also which was a huge success. Niassa failures too but majority of his business was just was fantastic and it was a good run for him and I learned all the principles of how to do visits the railway and how to treat people way in in the hottest business probably in the world. That's what I was thinking. You know so many of them successful restaurant tours that we know of everything they've done hasn't been a success but they just kept on moving yeah. It was good transition from the beer industry to to to restaurants it. Was you know like more hours a lot? More work let learning I was. I was young I was I was thirty. I think when a when a transition over and You know twenty to twenty two years later still striving to make it better every day. Which was T- tomato? Say you started in Baton Rouge because that's where you're living. And that's out on on highland road or off well. How inroad is so historic in Long Ghost? Wellish she but it ends That airline highway near the interstate. So we're right right off the between airline highway and the interstate off Holland road going towards New Orleans right ano- through the years What what year did that open? Nineteen okay I know through the years. ended up. You've had a partner to you at Tj in a partner and then now you're the the sole proprietor jemma partner BNG partnered chef. We we bought TJ ten years ago when a almost two years ago. I My partner Wanted to get into consulting business Chef which is his real talent. So I bought out his his Half of the business and never looked back. Are you in chef? Also know how are you know being from South Louisiana? I love to cook the perfect business because aboard from timid Oh that has no interest in hunting fishing which is which is odd ballplayer. Well most of my most my ballplayer player friends with diggers hunters. And fishermen you. Can you could find My Dad really never did. It always just work to live. My Dad was in a funeral business. You know eleven years old realize how much I dislike baseball. I think when you we didn't have the diagnosis bag number the AD kinda thing Sitting in a in a in a baseball dugout and united in your patient They don't have any medicine forward. Believe me it was so my dad said come to work with me every summer from eleven years old was till I went to Lsu. I Dug Graves in Saint. Mary Parish of Morgan City area and That's true the true meaning of work getting up early. You know as a youngster and driving to another city and getting a cemetery with a shovel in my hand and digging in hundred plus plus temperatures you learn a lot also learn a lot about By death in the mud sorrow and so it kind to pass to to to liberal more happy joyful life Which is hospital the industry. Yeah I didn't realize that about here. I know you're friends with talk. Rides right is that it's a friend from way back or is he. I think he had three reason Jane to the time and I had. I was just a manager here. That House for Fino's twenty twenty two years either right twenty one year twenty two years ago when I heard AIDS. Yeah just wondered if that was yeah. We had an instant is one of those Those those friendships when you when you first meet somebody you know. It'd be lifelong friendship. A has been for us. Yeah well you know. I want to mention Jim Doray before we get off on another topic Jim I know as a coach for you Through the vestige And now he's an executive coach and he recommended that we do this. Podcast you can share your whole story and He's spoken so highly of you your dedication to the industry and You know it is including today hanging on with the corona virus and what it's done to the restaurant industry so I just wanted to let you maybe talk about some of your early career and I don't know if you've ever been through times like this did some of the oil bust in the past Affect you and your business or we're all able to sidestep some of the hard times that we're having we. We had our challenges until I opened up. Lafayette I knew. Nothing about the oil and gas industry Even being from thibodeau and we're home as with a lot of family in it. My my uncle was the vice president of BP Homa and there's a there's A. I know so many in that industry But it when we first in the restaurant industry bad rouges pretty out of the Exxon. You know refinery batteries more chemical petrochemical area. That is lowest prices. Help them from when I hear more heard and Lsu's huge so whenever we have you know that we went to the hurricanes which would which will pretty brutal on the does Katrina was actually positive for tax. Were the first restaurant in from New Orleans. And in most of the the the the wealthier New Orleans that a moved were able to move to Baton Rouge and when the restaurant is a baton rouge as the Country Club. Yana Santamaria and always. He's really nice homes and they just got bought up all these New Orleans millionaires. So my restaurant actually did well. You know I mean we. Baton Rouge exploded and then The DP all spill. We actually did one on. That didn't get any money from that. Because the we didn't we didn't More business because of the station's people to go to the beach in that Beach House so they stayed back But we've had our had our challenges you know we Restaurant in Lafayette flooded in sixteen. That was that was. That was tough on us. in the bar flooded. I really do a lot of work with the community supported us in registered behind us and got it back open. And then you know the only gas My Buddy Jamie Howard former Teammate Formula All player called me and said is going to be bad. You know this whole rolling all prices coming down. It's going to be bad for low while expense accounts. GonNa dry up. And I really didn't knew what he was talking about but I I didn't see it being that bad but he got really really low for a while but we worked hard. You worked on the healthcare industry and pharmaceutical parties in in different things in it business. You know it's it's it's not only gas expense accounts those those those guys are role in. It's a big business but we've we've been able to hire great managers and you keep the ball going. It's just been you know fun. Place to be with outdoor seating in the beauty of the river. Gorgeous bar really looking forward to hopefully reopening Soon to Get people out of their cabin fever up and I'd like to take a break if we can. I want to after this break. Go into what's going right now. In Lafayette and some things. You know the struggles in what you'd like to see..

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