The somewhat recent City Pork restaurants in Baton Rouge have not had any troubles taking off. With a unique style of Louisiana and fancy barbecue cooking, City Pork pleases every head that walks through the door. The chain has consumed the college crowd with their specialty sandwich, The Hangover- two eggs sunny side up, two slices of bacon, sausage patty, smoked corn grits and multigrain toast. And the many other delicious options on their menu.
The owner of all three City Pork locations, Stephen Hightower, has been in the restaurant business for 20 years. Hightower has opened 10 different restaurants and bars as either the manager or owner. He has managed fine dining restaurants, private clubs, historical places, fast casual and full service bars.
I have always had the dream to own a restaurant, and after a few successes and failures, I have found one in City Pork that I hope to build my career around,” Hightower said.
Hightower said the experience he gained the most out of was from his six and a half years at the phenomenal, Ruth’s Chris Steak House. He was able to work with experienced leaders who showed him the do’s and the dont’s. Hightower also said he was faced with many challenges at Ruth’s Chris, but he feels that is a part of what has made him a better owner.
“I believe the diversity of where I have worked along with the varied experience of working in the kitchen as well as directly with the guests in the front of the restaurant has helped me immensely,” Hightower said.
In addition to being the owner, Hightower is known as the Director of Operations for City Pork. This means he oversees all of the day to day operations of each restaurant. Hightower said he is involved in every aspect of what the restaurants do. He manages the restaurant managers and chefs, approves marketing decisions, and he discovers ideas for new growth and development.
When asked what his favorite part about being with City Pork is, Hightower said the “continuous exploration of food.” If they stopped researching new food options, the other restaurants would leave them behind. The restaurant business is challenging and takes dedication.
Steve Carville, a colleague and old golf partner, has known Hightower for over 25 years. They became friends while Hightower was in high school and Carville was in college because Carville’s nephew was best friends with Hightower. Hightower frequently calls Carville for work advice.
“It was no surprise to me that Stephen was gonna be successful,” Carville said. He said Hightower has always been a good guy, and was raised from a good Baton Rouge family. Carville said Hightower treats his employees very well and with high respect. This is evident on Hightower’s Facebook page: Hightower was on the Food Network in January. Some of his old employees from previous restaurants posted a congrats on his timeline.
Carville said Hightower is a smart, personable, and positive man who works hard at everything he has done and is currently doing. He is always trying to make it better, Carville said. Hightower’s approach to business is customers first, he wants to provide a good value service, and Carville thinks that is the key to his success.
You have to be passionate about three things in this business and that is food, people, and hard work. And I love every one of those,” Hightower said.