Our Team

From our founders to our newest colleagues, here's a peek at the folks that make Hell tick.

 
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Mitch Omer

Founder and Co-Owner

When football star Mitch Omer walked off the field in frustration and gave up his full scholarship at Iowa State to the chagrin of his furious father, he was understandably told “don’t come home.” Thus he ran up to Ely to forge a new life. Grabbing the first job offered (and lying about his lack of experience), he started cooking at age 19.

Luckily for him, he was good. “But it was just a job,” he explains, until he met world-renowned chef Jacques Pepin - friend of Julia Child, author of numerous cookbooks, and chef to several French Presidents. Watching Jacques in action “lit me on fire,” says Mitch. “That’s when I realized good cooking combines my love of art and science, and at that point, there was absolutely no stopping me.” Omer then maniacally studied everything about the culinary world he could get his hands on.

Fervently working up to 3 jobs at a time, he gained priceless experience under many great chefs near and far, honing his kitchen skills while trying to balance a crazy home life that included three children, two ex wives, irresponsible drug and alcohol use, subsequent punishments, and (finally) a proper diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder, which thankfully explained his manic-obsessive-depressive behavior. Fonally on an even keel, Omer sold almost all of his possessions and opened Hell’s Kitchen.

Sadly, Mitch passed away in 2015, but we will never (ever) forget his bigger-than-life creativity and his amazingly generous heart.

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Cynthia Gerdes

Founder and CEO/Co-Owner

By the time Cyn, a Puerto Rican spitfire, married Mitch Omer in 2001, she already had her hands full as founder and owner of Creative Kidstuff, a beloved local chain of indie toy stores. Having grown her own business beyond what she had ever thought possible, it was a snap to offer to help Mitch kickstart his dream. “A small restaurant? How hard can it be?” So she put together a business plan; found a bank to finance the place; designed the menu, signage, website, ads, press releases, and other marketing materials; set up the backend accounting, payroll, front end POS system, legal documents, tax accounts, insurance, city permits, Health Dept compliance, workers comp accounts; and on and on and on. Can you guess by now what happened? Yes, running the business end of Hell’s Kitchen not only consumed ALL of her time, she eventually decided to sell the toy stores in order to remain sane while focusing on her CEO “job from Hell” even more.

She still laughs while explaining, “You know that joke about ‘behind every successful man is a woman?’ Don’t get me wrong, but my version of that saying is, ‘Behind every successful man is a woman rolling her eyes.’ ”

You can reach Cyn via email at Cyn@HellsKitchenInc.com

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Steve Meyer

Chef and Co-Owner

Happy as hell to have a good cooking career at several great Twin Cities restaurants, Steve often followed Omer’s lead and jumped from place to place to work as his Sous Chef whenever Omer was fired (which was not exactly rare). So when Mitch said, “I’m opening a restaurant and I want you as a partner,” Meyer was lured straight to hell. “Steve’s the hardest working line dog in the business,” explained Mitch, “and I wouldn’t do my own place without him.”

We got a two-fer as well: Steve's wife Kim is now our Business Manager, keeping us all “in line” and helping make sure all of our ducks still march in a row.

To reach them, write to SteveMeyerHK@gmail.com or KimMeyer@HellsKitchenInc.com

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Kjersti Granberg

General Manager

There once was a quiet young host who took so much pride in her job, she kept growing and growing, being promoted to Host Supervisor, then Banquet Manager, then Assistant GM, and now she runs the whole damn place as our beloved General Manager. She handles her job with grace, wit, calm, and a sparkle in her eye ALL WHILE while juggling a pre-teen AND a new baby!

Don’t let that sweet exterior fool you though, KJ is laser focused on the business side of things while at the same time juggling a million personalities, and making sure our guests are well taken care of from the moment they walk through the gates of Hell.

You can reach KJ via email at Manager@HellsKitchenInc.com

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HK Hellians

"I am NOT like the others..."

Damn right! We've never felt such a strong sense of pride about our team as we do today: they're dedicated, hard working, a bit sassy, delightfully smart-assy, and definitely "not like the others." 

In fact, we'd be nothing without our Hellian crew and we say that with complete sincerity. Our colleagues in the kitchen as well as at our host stand, our dining rooms, our bar, and our behind-the-scenes nooks & crannies are absolutely outstanding. They're the ones who roll out of bed while you're still dreaming and the ones who wearily catch the bus home in the wee hours of the morning long after we've closed shop and you've gone to bed.

So this is our public shout out to the Hell's Kitchen employees who truly are the ones who make Hell tick. THANK YOU!