Hiring & Recruiting, Payroll Services, Insurance, Legal Compliance, Employee Handbooks, Job Descriptions, Vacation Policies, Employee Training
GUEST SERVICES & ENGAGEMENT
Day-to-day Interactions, & Follow-through, Private Dining Programs, Marketing & Promotions Management, Restaurant Design, & Optimization, Events
Menu Development & Changes, Website Updates, Bookkeeping, Budgeting & Forecasting, Operational Layouts & Efficiencies, Vendor Access (from Electricians to Insurance Brokers), Permits, Fees, Registrations, POS, Culinary, Construction Management
Budgeting, bookkeeping, financial planning, cash management, etc.
CONCEPT DEVELOPMENT & DESIGN
Operational layouts, construction management, permitting, business license acquisition, code compliance, etc.
INDIVIDUAL & PACKAGED
Formed out of friendship and a common goal of elevating the guest experience, Hi Neighbor Hospitality Group leverages expertise across all hospitality sectors. Combining our technical acumen with operational EQ, our focus is to achieve sustainable, long-term growth. Our decades of industry insights and connections have built lasting relationships with guests, employees, vendors, and partners. We welcome dynamic people and partners that are equally dedicated to executing with excellence.
Cole attended Boston University, where he pursued a dual degree in finance and hotel & restaurant administration. While attending school, he cooked at Esquires Best New Restaurant, Anago Bistro, and taught cooking classes at the university as well. He won the prestigious Kopf wine scholarship that gave him an extraordinary opportunity to work in some of California, France and Italy’s top restaurants and wineries.
After graduating, Cole moved to Los Angeles to work with Hillstone Restaurant Group, prior to exiting the industry briefly to pursue a role as a financial analyst using his business degree to its fullest.
Cole returned to the restaurant world via Boston to take over the wine program at the four-star Clio by Ken Oringer. After, he found his way back to LA as General Manager at Bastide, which led to an opportunity to open a restaurant with Michael Mina, XIV, on the Sunset Strip. It was the first of many properties Cole ran for Mina, from General Manager at MGM and Aria in Las Vegas to Director of Operations for Mina Group restaurant properties in Seattle, San Francisco and Southern California.
In 2013, Cole left The Mina Group after 5 years to embark on his first solo venture, opening Stones Throw in Russian Hill. Following an enormously successful opening, he then opened Trestle, changing the landscape for affordable fine dining in San Francisco. Named Restauranteurs of the Year by San Francisco Magazine and the GGRA, and a rising star from StarChefs, this was the beginning of Hi Neighbor Hospitality.
CEO / PARTNER
Ricci hails from Philadelphia, Penn., where she attended The University of the Arts, earning a BFA in Directing and a BA in Theater. Ultimately, she fell in love with the culinary arts, specifically the artists and creative spirits who gravitated to it. While a student, she worked alongside some of the city’s most prominent restaurateurs: Stephen Starr of STARR Restaurant Group, pioneering chef Audrey Claire Taichman and Marc Vetri, a James Beard award winning chef for Vetri. Ricci found solace in meeting new people each night and having the opportunity to welcome them back in time after time.
Ricci’s post-college career began in New York, then took her to the West Coast, where she worked at Katsuya Uech's Brentwood Restaurant in Los Angeles as a corporate trainer for parent company SBE. She assisted in the opening of several outlets across the greater Los Angeles area, including Chloe, Katsuya Downtown, Katsuya Glendale and Katsuya Hollywood, helping to set the company's hospitality standards.
Her talents led her to an opportunity helping open Michael Mina’s restaurant, XIV, on the Sunset Strip, where she first crossed paths with her now business partner, Ryan Cole. The two later embarked on a journey to San Francisco, where they met Jason Halverson, future Chef and partner of Hi Neighbor Hospitality Group. The trio left The Mina Group in 2013 to begin their own venture, opening their first restaurant, Stones Throw, in Russian Hill, and later the Hi Neighbor Hospitality Collection.
MEET TAI →
Born & raised in Wichita, KS, he began working with some of the best chefs in San Francisco, in some of the most revered kitchens in 2006. Studying under Roland Passot at La Folie, one of the historic four -star restaurants in San Francisco, Jason developed a strong foundation in French/California cuisine.
As an up-and-coming talent rising the ranks in San Francisco’s culinary scene, Halverson was offered the opportunity to work with Chris L’Hommedieu at the Westin St. Francis on Union Square at MICHAEL MINA. Halverson was an integral team member that contributed to the restaurant garnering two Michelin stars. As his career progressed, he moved on to open MICHAEL MINA at 252 California Street in 2010 and continued to grow his talent and skills under Ron Siegel, ultimately becoming Siegel’s Executive Sous Chef before leaving to start Hi Neighbor Hospitality Group.
Rooted in the culture and discipline of these award-winning kitchens with an appreciation for simply prepared, California-centric cuisine, Halverson strives to provide consistently craveable food in an environment that matches his personality, which he describes simply as – FUN! Halverson was named Eater’s Best Chef in San Francisco for 2015, and as a member of Hi Neighbor Group both San Francisco Magazine & GGRA’s Restauranteur’s of the year in 2017.
MEET JASON →
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Lucas hails from Southern California and at an early age had a passion for hospitality and a work ethic that was unparalleled. After graduating high school, Lucas made his way to San Francisco looking to broaden his experience. After working as a server around the city, he landed his career changing role at Stones Throw, Hi Neighbor Group's first endeavor. Here he not only took ownership of his serving role, quickly becoming one of the strongest team members, but also began a deep dive into what has become one of his biggest passions, wine. Quickly becoming a certified Sommelier, Lucas continued to grow and expand his reach within Hi Neighbor Group, ultimately becoming the Wine Director at the Vault. Throughout his journey within the group, he quickly mastered all elements of management, holding nearly every role within the company until ultimately taking on the role of Director of Operations.
In his current role, Lucas oversees all operational elements of the company. With his exceptional service and hospitality skills, immense product knowledge, and technical prowess regarding all things restaurant, Lucas continues to grow, mentor, and influence each of the concepts in a unique way.
DIRECTOR OF OPERATIONS
ABOUT LEE ANN
Lee Ann comes to us from the former Hayes Valley neighborhood staple, Dobbs Ferry, recently shuttered due to Covid 19, which she owned with her husband Steve. She started her career at various sports bars and restaurants in NYC, bartending, serving and managing for almost 10 years before moving to San Francisco in 2014 where she spent and 5 years managing the fine dining, popular waterfront restaurant, Waterbar. She has been instrumental in upholding standards of service and creating memorable guest experiences, as well as developing hiring practices and training methods for all departments of front of house. She brings a wealth of experience in all aspects of the restaurant business from guest relations to human resources, and extensive food and beverage knowledge.
Lee Ann grew up in Stamford, Connecticut for her early childhood then moved to Danville, California. She is also a business school graduate of Indiana University. Aside from working in restaurants, Lee Ann has done more than a dozen triathlons, enjoys hanging with her family and friends, and maintains a chalk art business that she does artwork for local restaurants and families.
LEE ANN IZZO
DIRECTOR OF TRAINING & RECRUITMENT
Beginning his career in hospitality in the early 2000 ́s as a dishwasher for Kimpton Group, Raymundo is no stranger to hard work and perseverance. Motivated to grow he transitioned into room service and began to climb the ranks within the hotel/restaurant. With a lot of dedication and hard work, he earned an opportunity to work at the iconic Postrio in Union Square. Spending nearly 10 years there, he really honed his skills and enhanced his passion for hospitality.
After Postrio’s closure in 2010, Delgado began to work for Mina Group, where he was provided an opportunity to work behind the bar, learning another facet of the business. Mentored by Lead Bartender Carlo Splendorini, he continued to advance within the group, becoming Lead Bartender at the flagship MICHAEL MINA restaurant. There he found true passion for the art of crafting cocktails. After a few years, he decided to move to Oahu, HI where was able to help with the opening of other Mina Group properties. After a few years, he returned to San Francisco, where he became the Lead Bartender at Pabu Izakaya.
In 2021, after a decade of working for the MINA GROUP, Delgado joined Hi Neighbor Hospitality Group as Bar Director, overseeing all of the cocktail programs within the group.
CORPORATE BAR DIRECTOR
Manuel brings over 14 years of culinary experience to Hi Neighbor Hospitality. Starting his career with chef Elizabeth Faulkner provided him with a foundation in pastry. After gaining a base level of knowledge, Manuel began working for famed Chef Michael Mina opening Bourbon Steak at the Westin St Francis. Shortly thereafter, Manuel grew within the Mina Group, working at a multitude of concepts including the flagship MICHAEL MINA.
After gaining valuable experience with the MINA Group, Manuel moved to Portland to help open restaurants for The Ringside Group, before returning to San Francisco to join Mark Sullivan and the Bacchus Group. Here he gained experience working at the flagship Spruce, as well as assisting at many of their other properties.
When the opportunity came to join The Battery, one of SF’s premier private clubs, Manuel jumped at the chance to learn another facet of the business. As the Private Events Chef, Manuel led a kitchen team developing and executing menus for banquets, catering, and more within the private club. In 2019 Manuel joined the Hi Neighbor Group and has been an integral part of the culinary team since. Working at all of the Hi Neighbor Group properties, Manuel has become well rounded and well versed in executing all of the different concepts Hi Neighbor operates.
CORPORATE SOUS CHEF
Jianwei joins us from Singapore where he most recently was the General Manager and wine buyer at Meta Restaurant, a 1-star Michelin restaurant that garnered a spot on the World Best 50 Restaurant and Asia Best 50 Restaurant.
Prior to that, he was a graduate of The Culinary Institute of America. Jianwei has also spent years in the bay area working with luxurious fine dining restaurants Quince, Atelier Crenn, Michael Mina and Avery. To round off his hospitality experience – Jianwei worked at Tartine Manufactory where he picked up valuable lessons on all day dining and coordinating multiple teams across different departments.
At Hi Neighbor Group, Jianwei takes part in the daily operations of the different restaurants which includes training of managers and team members, ensuring that every guests and team members are always taken care of.
AJ comes from a restaurant family background. His father managed and owned multiple restaurants, where AJ gained exposure and hands-on experience. Having been in the industry for over 18 years, he found himself in every role of the FOH- serving, banquet catering, and bartending. He later went on to manage restaurants in the East Bay, as well as starting his own catering company.
His first venture out in SF landed him in the hands of the Hi Neighbor Group, where he became the Assistant Manager at Corridor and later the General Manager at The Vault Garden and The Vault Steakhouse. 5 years in, AJ has continued to grow within Hi Neighbor and has lent his experience to the corporate manager role to help oversee the multiple outlets within the hospitality group.
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Operating a restaurant is multifaceted – from hiring, bookkeeping, and payroll to guest engagement, POS systems, and employee handbooks. We have the experience to help you navigate and implement all hospitality needs, allowing you to focus on what you enjoy. Whether you're looking for a partner to assist on a segment of business, or someone to take the operational reins, we're at your service.