Welcome Home to Del Frisco's

Karl Vela |
Food And Dining

The food achieves a consistency on par with a German clock; everything from the cuts of prime steak to the sides garners a level of attention that would make spouses jealous. 

Our culture is very big on reminding us that you can only make one first impression. A bad introduction—even a bland one—can leave a sour taste in a person's mouth. Why then, in so many of our restaurants, are we standing shoulder to shoulder with other patient foodies like cattle in a feed lot, our names being shouted by the hostess before we're rushed off to our tables? The sad truth of the matter is that most restaurants have forgotten the art of hospitality. Del Frisco’s, however, is an exception to this rule and twin sisters Jen and Dana are the reasons why.

As the new maîtres d' at Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse, Jen and Dana serve as not only the face of the restaurant, but also as the hospitality leaders for both staff and guests. To the staff, the twins are the captains of morale, making sure everyone is happy to come to work each day. To the guests, they are the restaurant personified—the familiar, elegant, and charming character of Philadelphia’s premier steakhouse.

“We simply wouldn’t be where we are without them,” Regional Manager Rich Furino says. This is truly high praise from such an important man, and there is no doubt among the regulars that Jen and Dana deserve the nod. But Rich embellishes: “Every night they assume the role of host, and each one of them has a magical way of making our guests feel special.”

By far the most important part of Jen and Dana’s combined role is that they serve as the first and last representation of the Del Frisco's experience. There's no doubt the restaurant's past and present set high expectations: The food achieves a consistency on par with a German clock; everything from the cuts of prime steak to the sides garners a level of attention that would make spouses jealous. The dining rooms, meanwhile, are always meticulously set and prepared by the staff each night, no crumb left undetected and no fork upturned. As maîtres d', Jen and Dana set that standard each and every night from the moment you enter the building—they are the beginning and ending of every Del Frisco's experience.

The common mental image of maître d' is a crusty old gentleman slogging a dated suit, giving the same tired welcome for decades. And it's for this very reason that restaurants all across the country have systematically phased them out of their dining experience. But it's worth asking: What's suffered because of the loss of once-beloved maîtres d'? Truth be told, far too much.

Imagine you’re a visiting Philadelphia on business and someone tells you to stop by Del Frisco’s for a cocktail. You walk through the front doors and Jen and Dana greet you warmly, offering a delicate peck on the cheek. You get to chatting as they guide you up the stone steps to the bar where you meet the charming bartender, along with a handful of regulars who have lived in Philly their whole lives. Soon you’re having a fruitful conversation, eating and drinking your way to absolute enjoyment. This once strange place—nothing more than an off-the-cuff recommendation from a friend—suddenly begins to feel a lot like home.

Now imagine you’re dressed to the nines on a Saturday night, taking a date out to dinner. Jen and Dana recognize you from the moment you enter the revolving doors. They greet you pleasantly and take your coat. They know your name, they know where you like to sit, and they know that you always like to go over the menu with an extra dirty martini in your hand. As you and your date are whisked away to your favorite table, the lady or gent on your arm can't help but be impressed. Then it really hits: a few days later, you notice a letter in your mailbox. It's a hand-written card from Jen and Dana, sincerely thanking you for stopping by.

Everyone wants to feel special, that’s no secret. But few restaurants can give you that feeling, and fewer still are the ones that do it every time you walk in the door. Are Dana and Jen just the product of a lost tradition? Not hardly. They are an invaluable part of what makes the Del Frisco’s experience so extraordinary.