Proudly born and raised in the East End of Houston, Texas, Johnny Carrabba III was raised in his parent’s family-owned grocery store, Carrabba’s Friendly Grocery, and attended St. Thomas High School. In 1986, Johnny opened The Original Carrabba’s on Kirby Drive. The second location on South Voss Road opened its doors in 1988. In 1993, Outback Steakhouse created a joint venture partnership consequently opening over 250 Carrabba’s Italian Grill Restaurants nationwide. Johnny and his family continue to own and operate the two original Carrabba’s locations. In 2012, the family’s new fast-casual concept, Mia’s Table, opened one block behind the Original Carrabba’s on Kirby. In 2014, Grace’s, affectionately named after Johnny’s grandmother, Grace Mandola, opened its doors forging the fourth family-owned and operated restaurant for the Carrabba family. Mia’s Table opened its second location in Shenandoah, Texas in September 2018 and the third location in Webster, Texas in 2019. Mia’s Table continues to grow throughout the greater Houston area with additional locations in the horizon, including Katy, Cypress, and Memorial City. Johnny is a philanthropist at heart and gives back to the community through many venues and charities, especially those benefiting children.
Family Since 1987
Rafael Morales has a special place in the heart of the Carrabba Family. He began his career at Carrabba’s on Kirby in 1987, first working in the pizza station then slowly making his way through the other stations in the kitchen.
One day in 1989 or so, after seeing a lot of turnover in the kitchen, Johnny Carrabba called him into the office. “How much do you make?” he asked. Raffy responded, “$4.75 an hour.” Johnny said, “You’re going to start making $6.75. Now you’re a kitchen manager. One day, you’re going to make $20 an hour with me.”
Rafael has been leading the kitchens in the Carrabba Family for many years and played a crucial role in developing menu items for Mia’s Table and Grace’s on Kirby. He is also deeply involved in creating new dining offerings and specials, all the while making sure the entire back-of-the-house team is following and executing recipes to the highest standard.
Rafael hails from Puebla, Mexico, and came to the United States in 1983. He and his wife have two sons, one of whom – no surprise – is an up-and-coming chef in the Carrabba Family.
Rafael likes to watch telenovelas and drink coffee. But mostly in his free time, he likes to work out in the gym to keep slim and trim – which can be tough for someone whose job includes more than a few food tastings.
Deanna "Dee" Davis
Chief Accounting Officer
Family Since 1988
Dee Davis oversees the accounting team, prepares financials, handles taxes matters – and a whole lot more. But her history with the Carrabba Family runs deeper. She was hired as an accountant in 1988, though she’s pretty much done it all.
Dee has aided in the company’s growth at every turn: First, with the two Original Carrabba’s locations; then a joint venture partnership with Outback Steakhouse; then Carrabba’s Italian Grill nationwide; then the opening of Mia’s Table and Grace’s. Dee has been a personal assistant, mentor to many, and basically the keeper of all company facts.
An East Coast girl from Marlborough, Massachusetts, she moved to the warmer climate of Houston in 1984. Dee graduated from the University of Massachusetts with a bachelor’s in sociology and from the University of Houston in accounting.
Dee is an avid gym goer, cyclist, and world traveler, and is always on the lookout for an excellent book to read or a stage play to see. She has participated in the MS150; volunteers for Camp For All, which supports people with special needs; and is the first – and only – female board member of The Downtown Club.
She and her husband have two sons.
Family Since 1988
Greg Bedruz is well-known in the company, not only for his long and loyal tenure but also for his always calm temperament. He has been paying the employees in the Carrabba Family for so many years that if anyone ever has a question about our team, past and present, he’s the man with the answers. He’s always on top of payroll and makes sure our vendors are paid on time.
Greg is from Cavite, Philippines, and migrated to Texas in 1983. He earned his degree in business administration accounting from The Philippine School of Business Administration and is a founder of the Cavite Association of The Philippines. Although his tenure with the Carrabba Family is lengthy, Greg’s been doing restaurant accounting for more than 45 years – long before he joined us.
Greg’s wife is a registered nurse in Houston, and both of his sons are successful registered nurses, one leading the team in the Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit at Houston Methodist Hospital. While Greg is proud of his work with the Carrabba Family, his true joys in life are his granddaughter JuJu and his sidekick pooch, Shadow.
Director of Human Resources
Family Since 1990
Angie Bennett was basically raised in this company and created a path for herself, starting as one of the first female servers at the Original Carrabba’s on Kirby. Twenty-five years later, she is the Carrabba Family’s first-ever Director of Human Resources. Besides screening and processing employees, Angie is responsible for employee benefits, relations, and training, and spearheads the charitable contributions aspect of the company.
She was born in Peoria, Illinois and earned her Bachelor of Science in Horticulture from Texas A&M University. As you might expect from someone who worked her way up, Angie has remained focused on improving her skills, serving as a member of the Society for Human Resources Management, a Notary, and a Proctor for Serv Safe Exams required in Texas. She has also dabbled in culinary classes.
A self-described “dabbler” in culinary classes, she has a busy personal life with her family and two teen boys. She also volunteers with the Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, Second Baptist Church, and in the local schools where her children attend. And if you ever see her around Houston, it’s probably on a bicycle.
Managing Partner, Carrabba’s on Kirby
Family Since 1997
Rommel Quarterman has been leading the successful team of the Original Carrabba’s since 2001. His strong work ethic and leadership skills have kept the restaurant going strong, with consistent continued growth year after year.
Rommel coordinates the training of his management team and their continuing education within the restaurant and is well respected and a mentor to many staff members. He runs a tight ship…and he sure knows how to throw a party.
He’s come to us from Savannah, Georgia, where he attended Benedictine Military School and Morehouse College, before moving to Houston with his wife. One day, on a whim, he applied at the Carrabba’s on Kirby to be a server. Little did he know how much impact he’d have on his staff and guests over the next 20-plus years.
Rommel is married and loves spending time with and watching his talented daughter dance. Outside of his job and family, you can find him working out, boxing, and traveling. He’s also a volunteer with Pro-Vision, an outreach program created to inspire hope and purpose into young people through access to academic, economic, and social enrichment opportunities.
Family Since 1998
Nicknamed “The Oracle” and “Zen Master,” Hieu Nguyen has been Johnny Carrabba’s right- hand man and leader of the company since the early 2000s. He is self-taught, knows more about the company than almost anyone, and is highly invested in the operations side of the business.
Responsible for everything from food to service and property management, Hieu is the kind of boss who makes people want to work hard while enjoying their jobs. He is the liaison between Johnny Carrabba and the company leadership and plays a critical role in building and preserving the strong culture that defines the Carrabba Family.
Hieu is originally from Vietnam but grew up in San Antonio when his family immigrated to the United States in the mid-1970s. He graduated from Trinity University, where he studied religion and international studies.
Hieu has two daughters, and he and the family enjoy camping together and vacationing in nature-filled areas. In his down time, he can be found reading cookbooks and indulging in the occasional late-night Taco Bell.
Managing Partner, Carrabba’s on Voss
Family Since 1998
Stephen Barclay is the balance to the busy commotion of the Carrabba’s Voss location. He has led the team, many of whom have been with him for 15 or more years. He works alongside the matriarch of the company, Rosie Carrabba; you might say they’re each other’s yin and yang.
Stephen oversees a management team that has come up entirely from within the company, and he’s been responsibly training them to be the growing leaders they are today.
He’s from Lake Jackson, Texas, and has lived in Houston for 24 years. Like so many of us at the company, he grew up from within – first as a bartender at Carrabba’s on Kirby and then as a manager at the Voss location, where he is now a fixture.
Stephen is married and has a daughter in high school. He enjoys reading and collecting comics.
Brand and Marketing Director
Family Since 2003
After seven years as a Head-Host at the Carrabba’s on Kirby and Voss locations, Loren Allardyce moved to the corporate office as Assistant to the President, working under the skilled leadership of Hieu Nguyen for five years. Much of her day-to-day duties focused on brand and marketing, which led to the creation of her current position.
From menu and recipe development to overseeing the company’s digital presence, Loren helps ensure that the company’s culture remains consistent and deeply rooted in the family’s values. As part of that, she helped oversee the award-winning Carrabba Family 30th Anniversary Cookbook, With Gratitude, Johnny Carrabba, and played a key role in the creation and openings of Grace’s and the Original Mia’s Table in Upper Kirby.
Loren grew up in Indiana and graduated from Ball State University with a bachelor’s in music education. She went on to earn a Master of the Arts from the University of Michigan Ann Arbor, focusing on classical voice performance. She thought singing would be her career, but then her life intersected with Carrabba’s – and, as they say, the rest is history.
She has two children and loves spending time with them. She is a board director of the Rise School of Houston and is actively involved in the progress and inclusion of children with special needs, primarily those with Down Syndrome.
When she’s not working or volunteering, you can usually catch Loren in the gym or find her running.
Managing Partner, Grace’s
Family Since 2004
Jason is responsible for helping grow our newest concept, Grace’s.
When Grace’s opened in 2014, he had been with us at both the Kirby and Voss locations, so his familiarity with the company’s culture and fundamentals were already solid. His leadership and rapport with employees and guests were an ideal fit for the “Southern Comfort” concept that is at the heart of the Grace’s experience.
Jason was born and raised in Houston. He has a Bachelor of Science in criminal justice from the University of Houston-Downtown and is certified to teach math in Texas. Also, he is the president of his local church consistory and loves playing sports and visiting new places.
When he’s not busy at Grace’s, he’s busy at home with his family and three young daughters.
Catering and Special Events Director
Family Since 2006
Although Vidal Smith has only held the title of Catering and Special Events Director since 2017, he has been handling all the private and special events for the company since 2011.
He specializes in creating unforgettable parties and charitable events by leading a team of chefs and service staff who deliver high-quality food and spectacular service. He is also trained in floral design and has a sharp eye for transforming any space into a wonderland of beautiful tablescapes and detailed design.
Vidal is from Kansas City, Missouri where his beloved mother still lives. He moved to Houston in 2001 and never looked back, developing an intuitive spirit for the city and an indepth knowledge of what it has to offer. His studies in marketing from Prairie View A&M University have served him well in his current role.
In his downtime, Vidal can be seen browsing the Contemporary Arts Museum and the Menil Collection or meditating at Rothko Chapel. He finds fulfillment in creativity and is a realistic dreamer constantly seeking ways to grow and evolve as a person. Vidal is a member of the National Association of Catering and Events.
Internal Communications Director
Family Since 2006
As the first Communications Director of the Carrabba Family of Restaurants, Andrea Baltazar is responsible for getting relevant information to our internal audiences. She is bilingual and serves as the company translator.
She started out working as a host at the Carrabba’s on Voss as a 19-year-old. Her potential was hard to miss, as she took on leadership willingly and eagerly. She was a Head-Host for many years and held the same title at both Carrabba’s on Kirby and Grace’s.
As she grew in the company, she rose to the position of executive assistant in the corporate office before assuming her current role shortly thereafter. In addition to her communications duties, Andrea also coordinates property maintenance, helps in the procurement process, and assists the President of the company.
Andrea attended the University of St. Thomas and earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Houston Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management. She is a member of the International Association of Business Communicators; loves being a part of the Houston new restaurant scene; and actively participates in the local arts and entertainment community. A museum enthusiast, Andrea can also be seen frequenting live music concerts.
She is a native Houstonian, a first generation Mexican-American, and spirited cat-lover.
Assistant to the Founder
Family Since 2007
Kristi has been like family to us. In 2007, she took on the tremendous responsibility of being Johnny Carrabba’s assistant – a job with many duties, not the least of which is keeping the Carrabba household on track all the time.
Kristi is from Fort Worth, Texas, but grew up in the Cypress area. She is close with her family – especially her sisters -- and has a teen daughter who keeps her busy. An avid equestrian and all-embracing animal lover. Kristi can often be found on her sister’s farm – or laughing with friends over a margarita.
Family Since 2007
Lindsey Calderwood is the friendly face you see at the desk and the warm voice you hear on the phone in the corporate office. She plays an integral role in the Catering and Special Events Company, helping to schedule parties, run invoices, secure staff, and organize events. Lindsey wears a lot of hats in supporting the operations team; stated differently, she’s the one who makes sure everything gets done.
She was born in New Orleans, grew up in Houston, and earned degrees in sociology and psychology from the University of Colorado. After graduation, she dabbled in social work before she backpacked through Southeast Asia and South America. She returned to Houston and decided to look for a temporary job – that turned into an unexpected career.
Lindsey began by supporting the Managing Partner at the Voss location as the Head-Host and Party Planner while at the same time serving as Rosie Carrabba’s right hand at the front door. It didn’t take long to see everything she had to offer, so she moved into her current role at the corporate office.
She’s a world traveler, typically taking multiple trips abroad each year. After visiting six continents, she’s now looking to complete the global set by going to Antarctica.
She loves the arts and is always exploring Houston’s diverse cultural offerings. Lindsey comes from a large family, with whom she enjoys spending time, and is currently mom to her sweet rescue dog Lilly.
Family Since 2008
Luis Duran is a virtuoso of numbers. But he doesn't just pay the bills. On the contrary, he also helps forecast, cost out recipes, and carries the heavy weight of keeping the company in good financial health.
While a young high schooler, he started working at Carrabba’s on Kirby as a busser, where his mother also worked.
He climbed the company ladder, filling roles such as food runner and server while attending school at the University of Houston-Downtown College of Business. He graduated with a Bachelor of Business Administration in accounting and international business and joined the Carrabba Family team shortly after as an accountant.
Luis has many interests. When he’s not crunching numbers, you can find him playing soccer, reading, going to movies, and playing video games. On top of that, he is the first robotics volunteer for the Awty International School in Houston.
Family Since 2018
Cindy Bendy may call herself the “Chief Cheerleader” in jest, but she’s not altogether wrong. She is principally responsible for overseeing all operational aspects of the company, including preserving culture safeguards as we continue to grow; helping keep our hospitality standards at the level guests expect; and overseeing continuing education for staff and management. So in that regard, she’s a cheerleader for our restaurants, our focus, our employees, and our guests.
Before joining the Carrabba Family team, Cindy had a long history of as a general manager of private country clubs in East Texas. She earned a master’s in business administration from LeTourneau University and spent 18 years leading the team at the Athens Country Club in Athens, Texas, and three years at The Cascades in Tyler, Texas.
Cindy was born in Dallas and raised in East Texas, moving to Houston in 2017 after she met her now husband, long-time Houstonian and hospitality guru Joe Bendy. Cindy has one son, Ries, who lives in Austin. She enjoys spending time with their children and two Boxers.
Charles "Chuck" Weiser
Chief Financial Officer
Family Since 2018
As Chief Financial Officer, Chuck Weiser oversees the finance, accounting, tax, and financial strategic planning for the Johnny Carrabba Family of Restaurants. Chuck has extensive operating and consulting experience from a variety of middle market companies throughout his 30-year career. Over the last 15 years, he has served as the CFO for several companies. His career started in Houston where he spent 12 years with J.P. Morgan Chase Bank, N.A. (and its predecessor) and ten years with UHY Advisors, Inc. (formerly Mann Frankfort Stein & Lipp, P.C.) in commercial banking and public accounting, respectively.
A native of Houston, Chuck attended the University of Texas McCombs Business School in Austin and earned a Bachelor of Business Administration and a Master’s in Business Administration in Finance and Accounting. He holds Certified Public Accounting licenses in the states of Texas and Florida.
Chuck is married with two boys. He enjoys volunteering as a business plan advisor to teams for the Houston Community College Newspring Business Plan Competition sponsored by Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program. Chuck volunteers for the Houston Exes alumni group and at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, both raising and contributing money for college scholarships.