OUR TEAM
Dan Meyers
General Manager
Known to his team as a Renaissance man, Dan Meyers is not only the general manager, he’s a trained actor who uses his love of surrounding himself with people to produce and direct the perfect experience for guests at The Happ Inn. Dan grew up in Highland Park and graduated from Indiana University in 2004, and after years of experience in the restaurant industry, he joined The Happ Inn team because he believes it’s where the North Shore comes together. When asked what he does to guide this vision, Dan says, “We work hard to source the finest ingredients, great wine and spirits, all while cultivating a well-trained staff who understand the purpose and passion of The Happ Inn atmosphere. When people are laughing and enjoying a wonderful meal, I know we’ve done a good job.”
Chef Hugo Rubio
Sous-Chef
More than a decade ago, Chef Hugo Rubio began his career with Lettuce Entertain You by working at Shaw's. There, Hugo's passion for learning the ins and out of the kitchen didn't go unnoticed, and he quickly progressed through the ranks to line cook. After fourteen years with Shaw’s, he expanded his already extensive culinary knowledge with positions at Macaroni Grill, Grille on Laurel, Ed Debevic's, and Saranello's. He joined The Happ Inn family in 2009. Since the opening, he’s brought his extensive expertise to the position of sous-chef where he executes menu items to the highest food standards.
Carlos Nieto
Managing Partner
Carlos Nieto has been with The Happ Inn since the very first day. Since then, he’s been instrumental in broadening the customer base with his unique attention to detail while tending to the guests’ experience. If you’ve been to The Happ Inn, Carlos has probably stopped to say hello and chat, but did you know he started out as a silversmith and goldsmith in Mexico? Back then, he developed a love of art as it relates to food in jewelry and began catering upscale events in Mexico City. It was from that point he knew he wanted to redirect his career into owning his own restaurants. Carlos’s resume is broad and it’s with those skills, along with his warm demeanor, that keeps guests returning to The Happ Inn.
Andy Salgado
Lead Server
Andy Salgado is a Chicago native who has been with the Happ team since 2015. He’s a self-described nerd who enjoys learning about wines, their regions and soils, their pairing/tasting notes, as well as the proper service and finer etiquette practices. He also participated in the Excellence Program for the late Charlie Trotter’s eponymous restaurant. Andy believes this experience became a turning point that opened his eyes to the punctilios of fine dining, while sparking his curiosity in the industry. Andy loves the contagious and dynamic energy of The Happ Inn and credits his sharp assimilation into the role of lead server to his parents. In his younger years, he worked in their grocery store. There, he learned to treat every place he worked as if it was his own, and that’s the motto he brings with him to The Happ Inn. On weekends, you’ll find Andy boxing, kickboxing, dancing, or playing chess.
Veronica Ortiz
Floor Manager
Veronica’s lengthy experience in the restaurant industry led her on a journey from her home in Acapulco, Mexico, to Orlando, Florida, before eventually settling in Chicago. After a long stint with Planet Hollywood and Landry’s Inc., she joined the Happ team in 2011. Her exceptional mastery of previous positions as a server, lead trainer, bartender, supervisor, and party coordinator prepared her for her role as The Happ Inn’s floor manager. From her very first day, Veronica was impressed with the upbeat vibe and has been excited to greet new and returning guests over her tenure. Veronica has a degree in communication and public relations from Sonoma State University, and on the weekends, you’ll find her exploring small towns in the Midwest with her husband and two daughters.
Freddy Sanchez
Executive Chef
Chef Freddy’s interest in food started at a young age, back when he helped his father farm their land in the small village of Guerrero, Mexico. By his father’s side, he learned a strong work ethic, but it’s his mother with whom he credits for passing on the fervor for cooking. She lovingly shared family recipes, especially sauces, which have become the cornerstone for many of the original and delicious dishes he’s brought to The Happ Inn menu. Since he started in 2011, his passion for cooking shows in his interest for developing dishes that the neighborhood of Northfield enjoys and returns for, not only weekly, but also for holidays. Chef Freddy studied at the Washburne Culinary & Hospitality Institute in Chicago, and on weekends, you may see him biking the Des Plaines River Trail or riding with the Vision Quest Group.
Juan Luis Lopez
Sous-Chef
With a resume seventeen years long, Juan Luis has been working in the restaurant industry for more than half his life. From age sixteen, Chef Freddy has mentored Juan Luis as he has worked in such restaurants as Vinci, Adobo Grill, and Pikk’s Tavern. During this time, Juan Luis developed a love of cooking with proteins, especially with fresh seafood and meats he can braise. Over his tenure, he’s become an expert saucier, cooking such Happ Inn dishes as paella and pulled pork. Juan Luis admits he only cooks for his family on special occasions, such as birthdays and holidays, but The Happ Inn is thrilled to have him on their team every other day.
Judy Lupfer
Office Manager
Judy Lupfer grew up in Chicago and earned a degree in education, but the allure and excitement of meeting new people called to her and she found her true passion in the restaurant industry. She started at Lettuce Entertain You at the age of seventeen and worked her way up to office manager, and in 2009, she joined The Happ Inn family. With her sweeping knowledge and experience, she helps lead The Happ Inn to success every day. In her spare time, Judy loves to scrapbook. Additionally, she’s a devoted mom who loves spending time with her kids.
Veronica Macari
Pastry Chef
Veronica Macari descends from a long line of chefs and bakers. Her dad was a chef and two great aunts were bakers. It’s safe to say that sugar runs in her veins, as baking and cooking have always come to her naturally. She studied baking and patisserie at Le Cordon Bleu in Chicago with additional studies in nutrition and substitutes, while also obtaining an associate’s degree in applied sciences. After her wide-ranging work experience with a kosher bakery, a vegan bakery, a cookie factory, and a custom cake studio, she joined The Happ Inn team in 2016. She resolutely believes her sugary creations produce an even HAPP-ier environment, and when asked to describe her job, Veronica cheerily claims, “I make people smile with awesome desserts.” Outside of work, Veronica is just as creative. She enjoys painting, sketching, and home renovation projects, but most importantly, she loves spending time with her children.
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