Haute Secrets with Restauranteur, Joe Palladino

Joe Palladino

Regarded as one of the most successful restauranteurs in the industry, Joe Palladino, entered the culinary world after being injured in the line of duty working as a New York police officer. Born and raised in New York he had the opportunity to be exposed to the competitive and thriving food culture of one of the world’s largest cities. Today Palladino has gone on to become a recognizable brand in his on right with a rich and diverse portfolio. 

It wasn’t until he began working at Yonkers Raceway in Yonkers, New York and became the youngest maitre d’ ever hired by the Rooney family, former owners of the NFL’s Pittsburgh Steelers, that he gained his first culinary experience and went on to successfully manage a four star, 1,400 seat dining room.

After leaving New York, Palladino orchestrated a successful turnaround of Sfuzzi restaurant in Las Vegas, as well as stints at Portobella, and the acclaimed Tre Visi and La Scala restaurants at the MGM Grand Hotel & Casino.

Moving to Dallas has proved to be one of his best decisions, becoming the perfect incubator for Palladino’s fresh, new ideas with his latest venture, Dos Jefes, showing Dallasites who’s boss!

Dos Jefes, situated in Dallas’ trendy Uptown neighborhood serves up savory Latin-Asian inspired tapas with handcrafted cocktails. Its loungy vibe paired with the sexy VIP room complete with bottles and bottles of 1942 Limited Edition Don Julio tequila serves up the perfect atmosphere.

Continually gaining a reputation for having the midas touch for curating winning combinations of perfect locations and chef driven cuisine, patrons eagerly await what Palladino will dish out next.

How did your career begin? When I was in high school and college I was in the restaurant industry and I had left to join the police department in New York. I was then injured as a police officer and went back to my original employment which was working for the Rooney family, who own the Pittsburgh Steels, and I worked for their racetrack as the maître d.

What motivated you to become a restaurant owner? I consider myself a risk taker. I like being in charge of my own destiny. It was also important for me to do things the way I thought was best.

Owning a restaurant is a very competitive business and many would agree that owning a steak restaurant and grill in Texas even more so,  what do you think is behind the success of Nick and Sam’s Steakhouse?  I was aware of all of our competition, and I felt that I could create an environment where their business was better appreciated and where our customers could feel like they were taken care of.

What prompted you opening Dos Jefes? I like doing things that are different and stimulating. I thought that Dos Jefes would allow me to grow and stretch my legs as far as diversifying my portfolio.

How did you come up with the name for Dos Jefes? My partner Nate Paul and I are very good friends and he has been very successful in his own right and we felt that it was a good name that represents us and would be well received.

Describe the cuisine at Dos Jefes? Authentic Mexican Tapas with an Asian influence.

What crowd are you catering to for Dos Jefes? A very diversified crowd in Uptown.

When opening a new restaurant what inspires your decision of what type of cuisine to be served? The concept is created based on the need of a community that I am moving into. Its fully developed by traveling, seeing other creative ideas and then making a decision if it would be well received in the location that I’ve chosen.

How do you pick the perfect location and what makes you feel it will be a successful one? I first try to pick a location that has a very attractive curb appeal coupled with the energy that surrounds the area. And understanding the wants and needs of the community in the location that I picked.

You’ve been able to offer great dining experiences in your restaurants, how much of that has to do with the food and how much of that has to do with the service? Both of them are equally important. Some places are able to survive with adequate food and great service and vice a versa. I would like to think that we couple both at the same time and have the opportunity to create a greater experience for our guests. I also create concepts with the hope that there may be an opportunity for them to be able to have multiple locations or have a great standalone location.

How do you go about teaming with the perfect Chef for your concepts? I’m blessed to have a great executive chef who is a partner who has the experience, creativity and culinary expertise to interpret my vision and where the menu needs to go. Chef Samir has been with me for the past 17 years.

How do you feel the Dallas culinary scene has changed within the last decade? I believe it has grown in the right direction. There are a lot of good concepts that are out there, with creative ideas and sleek designs which is making our industry in Dallas much more competitive.

Any future plans? Do you foresee expanding any of your restaurants to other states? Yes, but this depends on how much I want to complicate my life.

What’s your favorite meal? Chicken Cutlets. I’m a very simple eater. I appreciate great food but normally do not indulge on a regular basis.

Last day what would you be eating and what city would you be in? I would be eating authentic Chinese food in NYC.

Joe’s Haute Secrets

Where were you born: New York

How long have lived in Dallas: 18 years

Occupation: Restaurateur

 Favorite Restaurant: Nick & Sams Steakhouse

Best dessert: Butter Cake at Mastro’s

Best Sunday brunch: Dos Jefes

Best place for a power business meeting: Nick & Sams Private Room 

If you have out of town guests, which hotel would you recommend? Depending on the client, I would normally recommend The Crescent

Favorite shopping venue/boutique: Tom Ford

Favorite Cultural Event: Oktoberfest at Biergarten

Best Limousine/Driving Service: Fugazys New York City

Describe your city in three words: Pleasant, Growing, Respectful

All-around favorite spot in Dallas:  My Son’s Baseball game

Best Staycation Spot: The Crescent