& Michele Gutierrez
Silvio’s South American Lounge & Grill, formerly Silvio’s Brazilian BBQ, has been a part of the South Bay community since 2008. COO Nicolle Howarth is married to one of the original owners of Silvio’s and worked there for a short time when they first opened. She has worked in the hospitality industry for 30 years on and off and rejoined Silvio’s this year. GM Michele Gutierrrez grew up in a family that owned and operated restaurants in Las Vegas. She studied communications at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and was a mixed martial arts athlete competing on the MMA circuit around the world before she joined the Silvio’s team this year.
Tell us about this new phase for Silvio’s, an iconic South Bay restaurant.
Nicolle: The pandemic was a difficult time for our family and the business. We decided that my husband would go back to school to earn his MBA, and I would step into his role as managing partner of the business. The plan was a light rebranding of Silvio’s—giving it a fresh new look and feel, coupled with new management. And Silvio’s South American Lounge & Grill was born!
How has your work performance exceeded your customers’ expectations?
Michele: I am focused on making the guest experience memorable. Bringing in live music has been an amazing addition that people are loving. I try to talk with every table and make a connection with all of our guests. Coming on board at Silvio’s during the remodel and rebranding has been a whirlwind! My goal has been to build a team that is just as focused on the guest experience as I am. I’ve also been instrumental in developing the new beverage program. Lots of yummy concoctions to enjoy!
How do you encourage honest, open dialogue with employees?
Nicolle: You need to walk the walk and talk the talk. I can’t expect my employees and manager to be honest and open and have continuous dialogue if I’m not doing the same. Giving a bit of grace during the growth process is also a big part of it. Without that people will hold back, and that doesn’t serve anyone. I think that’s one of the reasons Michele and I work so well together.
Tell us about a few of your passions.
Michele: I have a passion for the bar and restaurant industry as well as the music industry. I’ve owned a music booking company for a few years now and have developed a great local following. The pandemic has allowed musicians the space to work in the South Bay and share their talent with the community. My ultimate goal is to own my own restaurant/bar/music venue.