Tales from the Road: Meet Our Owner, J.R. Anderson
Owner of BRG Restaurant Group, JR Anderson, tells us about his background in restaurant management, his favorite past travels, and what inspires him in his career. Enjoy!
How did you get into the restaurant business?
My Dad has been in the restaurant development and site location business for the past 45 years. So from a very early age we visited new concepts and of course spent a long time in restaurants sampling food and trying to understand the operations of these new concepts. My Dad was the first real estate director for Chi-Chi’s restaurants in the early 1980’s and owned and operated multiple units. My brother and I would sit and watch my Dad meet with the various managers and discuss operations, and it was there that the restaurant industry fascinated me.
Tell us about a favorite trip you took.
I have been lucky to travel and eat in some incredible places. From eating on the beach in Mexico to the finest cuisine in Paris and everything in between, I have had incredible food and service experiences. An amazing experience I have had recently has been eating a 17-course meal at the French Laundry in the Napa region with friends, with one of the friends being the celebrity Chef Curtis Stone. That was wild.
But, the most amazing experience ever has to be on the hills above Florence, Italy on my 10th wedding anniversary. My wife and I took a trip to Italy and we stayed at an unforgettable cliff side hotel that used to be a former monastery. The restaurant hung off the side of the cliff and had a sweeping vista of Florence. I can still taste the Brunello wine today. Amazing!
What’s your day-to-day schedule like?
Nothing is the same. From design and construction meetings to dealing with bankers for a new loan, my days are always different. The only thread that runs through it all is a lot of hard work and unpredictable experiences!
How do you relax?
I love to stay in shape and clear my mind by playing sports. From tennis with my brother to surfing even the smallest of waves, I love to do lots of different activities to relieve stress. Plus, I love spending time with my kids, so anything they are doing I like to participate in.
What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever eaten?
Rattlesnake. Taste like chicken, but was grosser. I try and stick to the basics.
What inspires you?
I’ve always found The Whole Earth Catalog fascinating. The front cover of the book said, “Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish”. That is the motto I try to live by. Always be curious and explore new things and keep that child-like sense of adventure and wonderment.