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Meet Dana Rodriguez of Super Mega Bien in River North

Today we’d like to introduce you to Dana Rodriguez.

Dana, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I grew up on a farm without any running water or electricity in Chihuahua, Mexico.

After vacationing and visiting family in Colorado twenty years ago, I decided to stay in the state and applied for a job at Panzano. It was there I met Jennifer Jasinski, the chef who took me under her wing and helped to develop me into the chef I am today.

I worked my way through the ranks learning from Jasinski and others the skills necessary to excel at each job and how to manage staff. I continued working with Jasinski and her partner, Beth Gruitch, for many years, going on to become a sous chef at Rioja and Chef de Cuisine at Bistro Vendome. It was in these roles that I learned what it was to truly run a kitchen.

In late 2012, my path crossed with Tony (Tony and I have been friends for nearly fifteen years, since the days of Panzano), he offered me the Executive Chef role and a piece of equity in what was to become Work & Class.

In 2018, I partnered with Tony Maciag and longtime Work & Class employee, Tabatha Knop, to open Super Mega Bien.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
I would be lying to you if I said it is a smooth road. There are ups and downs of owning a restaurant, but that is also life. Being an owner is a 24/7 job and I miss out on time with my family, but I love what I do. Not everyone can say that.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Super Mega Bien story. Tell us more about the business.
Super Mega Bien is a South American food that we serve dim sum style. Half the menu is dim sum and the other half is family style (Shared plates).

I am most proud of our staff. I could not do what I do without them. Me and my two business partners are trying to make the difference in this industry. I am lucky not to have much turnover, but I believe part of it is offering things like health insurance, 401ks, dental plans.

By being able to keep staff, it helps with creating regulars because they come in an see the same faces and every staff member knows their name.

Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
I am not sure about luck, but I do think timing has a lot to do with it. Being in the right place and the right time with the right people have played huge role in my life and business, well and maybe a little luck.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Jennifer Olsen – all restaurant photos, Armando Geneyro – Head shot, Tj Baker Group Photo – Me and my partners Tony and Tabatha

Getting in touch: VoyageDenver is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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