LOGAN — Jesus “Chuy” Villapudua casually saunters over to a table near the back of Bull’s Head Grille. He greets the couple dining there and makes conversation, exchanging laughs and smiles while checking to see they have everything they need. His motions are smooth, confident, warm and welcoming.
“We’re trying to cater to the public,” Villapudua said. “We’ve come a long way and now we’re up there with some of the best.”
Villapudua laughs and looks down at his hands, seemingly uncomfortable gloating about his father’s restaurant. “It’s not just ’cause I’m the son,” he said.
Since the Villapudua’s father, Mario, took over, the family has changed the Bull’s Head from a bar to a “restaurant with a bar.” The restaurant at 1111 N. 800 East has 17 employees, including Villapudua as front-end manager and his step-brother, Gerry Ricardo, as kitchen manager.
When Villapudua started hiring new staff, he says he looked at a unique trait in the potential employees — their hands.
“Look at people’s hands and you can tell by their hand movements and by how their hands are if they’re hard-working,” he said. “That’s what you want when hiring for front and back of the restaurant.”
Once candidates pass the hand test, they are vigorously trained on the food and bar menu. Villapudua says he quizzes employees on the menus a week into their training. If employees are not yet prepared, he will continue to train them until he is sure they are.
To encourage some consistency, the Bull’s Head menu doesn’t change very often, but offers two specials every day so Ricardo can test new dishes. The daily specials are contingent on the kitchen’s “mood.” If one of these items sells well and seems popular with the guests, it will be added to the upcoming menu. The jambalaya and the avocado burger are among the most popular regular menu items, Villapudua said.
The Bull’s Head owners are “passionate” about food, and therefore offer a wide variety, from Italian to American and “Hispanic” dishes.
“We have specials that come from Costa Rica, Mexico, Argentina and Brazil,” Villapudua said. “But I wouldn’t call it Mexican food.”
The restaurant also offers drink specials, and Thursday $1 margarita nights, and creates an upbeat environment with its musical offerings.
“We don’t play normal restaurant music,” said Villapudua, referring to Taio Cruz’s hit song “Dynamite” pulsating through the overhead speakers. “We try to create a relaxing but fun atmosphere.”
Bull’s Head has multiple televisions surrounding the bar-top seating that exclusively play sports. Its location on the ground floor of Blue Square Apartments on 800 East attracts many Utah State University students.
Students may soon be able to use their dining cards at Bull’s Head, Villapudua said, because the university recently purchased Blue Square Apartments and therefore is the Bull’s Head’s new landlord. Villapudua says he is unsure how he feels about the new ownership, which takes control of the building on Dec. 21.
“I don’t know much yet,” he said. “I liked how things were, I was getting used to everything – getting settled, and now it’s all changing up on me. I don’t know how to feel.”
Since USU is an alcohol-free campus, Villapudua also is unsure how the sale will affect the restaurant’s liquor license.
Despite his uncertainty about Bull’s Head’s new ownership, however, Villapudua is excited about the restaurant’s future. “Working in the restaurant business, there is a lot of work that people don’t see,” Villapudua said. “But it’s exciting.”