General Manager | FIREFLY
As a Los Angeles native with over 20 years of experience in the restaurant industry, Rod Bonios is not a stranger to the Southern California food scene. His first introduction to the restaurant industry came when he began working for King's Seafood Company first as a busser, then moving up the ladder as a runner, server, and manager at i. Cugini and Ocean Avenue Seafood in Santa Monica. Eager to learn more, Rod moved on to Cafe Del Rey in Marina del Rey as a service manager. Soon afterward he opened American Bistro, 2087, with friends in Thousand Oaks. The lure of the beach brought Rod back to Santa Monica, where he worked as a manager at Hans Rockenwagner's eponymous restaurant on Main Street. In 1998, Rod moved on to Capo Restaurant, a notorious Italian-style restaurant helmed by Bruce Marder. While at Capo, Rod worked part-time at Melisse in Santa Monica, Josiah Citrin's Michelin-starred French eatery, and also sold wine at Wally's Wine & Spirits, owned by Steve Wallace and Christian Navarro. After working at Capo and Melisse for years, Rod was promoted to manager at Melisse. Tempted by his love of wine, Rod rejoined Capo and was promoted to Beverage Director for Capo and all of Bruce's restaurants.
The constant search for a greater challenge brought Rod to Osteria Mozza as the opening service director, joining the team that led Mozza receiving two Michelin Stars. In 2011, Rod again joined King's Seafood Company as part of the team rebooting Water Grill in downtown Los Angeles as wine manager. This led to a new position at King's as Beverage Director, during which Water Grill Santa Monica was opened to great success. Then in 2013, Rod moved to Philadelphia to become General Manager of the lauded il Pittore in Rittenhouse Square. When Southern California beckoned again, Rod accepted a position in 2016 as Outlets Manager at the Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows in Santa Monica, overseeing the rebooted FIG restaurant, the Lobby Lounge, and the Pool Cabana. His work for FIG earned him the title of Fairmont's "Leader of the Year" in 2016.
Moving from restaurant to restaurant throughout his career, Rod has taken his beliefs about customers and business growth with him, leading him to much success along the way. He strongly believes that every issue with a guest must be resolved before they walk out the door and that growing a business requires meeting a customer’s emotional needs; are they happy and do they feel respected? With regards to the business, he believes each and every decision must meet two criteria: it is best for hospitality and best for the business. These beliefs have no doubt contributed to his accomplishments as being named the Head Waiter at Capo, the Opening Service Manager at Osteria Mozza, 2016 Leader of the Year at Fairmont Miramar Santa Monica, being promoted to Beverage Manager at Capo and King’s Seafood Company, and being recruited to be a general manager at a Stephen Starr restaurant and re-recruited by King’s upon his return to Los Angeles.
Rod’s success in the restaurant industry has been influenced by a few important people along the way, including Bruce Marder of Capo, Josiah Citrin of Melisse, Sam King of King’s Seafood Company, Stephen Starr of Starr Restaurant Organization, and Danny Meyer and his book, Setting The Table.
Now acting as the General Manager of Firefly, Rod hopes the restaurant will provide the Los Angeles community with an experience that rivals that of the incredible restaurants on the Westside of the city. Both first-time guests and longtime fans of Firefly, alike, can eat like Rod by ordering his current favorite dish to indulge in at Firefly, Steelhead Salmon with butternut clementine puree, kale, barley, and lemon verbena emulsion.