Gringo’s Celebrates 31-Years with Promotions –  Announced  President, COO, CPO & VPs

Gringo’s Mexican Kitchen announces promotions that include a new President, COO, CPO & VPs.

To say I am proud of all these promotions and the people behind the titles is an understatement…”

— Founder and CEO, Russell Ybarra

HOUSTON, TEXAS, UNITED STATES, January 11, 2024 / — Gringo’s Mexican Kitchen, known for its Tex-Mex cuisine and family atmosphere, is celebrating their 31st anniversary with big promotions for five team members. After thirty-one years, Russell Ybarra, President and CEO of Gringo’s Mexican Kitchen, and Jimmy Changas will lead his team as Chief Executive Officer of the company and has named loyal and long-time team member Jonathan Kim as President. Kim has been with the company for over 23 years starting as General Manager of the Gringo’s La Porte location. Kim rose through the ranks of corporate, serving as Vice President of Operations, and Senior Vice President of Operations before being named Chief Operating Officer in 2017. From handling procurement efforts, and participating in fundraising efforts such as “Pull-Ups for a Purpose” to leading the operations team, Kim has been a pillar of strength in the leadership and growth of Gringo’s Corporation.

In addition to Kim, Heather McKeon who previously held the Chief Marketing Officer position, is named the company’s Chief Operating Officer. McKeon has been with the company for 27 years starting as a hostess right out of high school at the Gringo’s La Porte location. McKeon paved her way to a management position where she later landed a position at the Corporate office as one of their first team members overseeing Gringo’s marketing efforts. In her tenure, McKeon has been a part of new store openings, developed new concepts such as The Lunch Box and Burger Libre, and led the way with her team from design to menu development. Heather’s ambition continues to be relentless as she strives to achieve excellence for the corporation.

Along with Kim and McKeon, Danny Hanks has been named Chief Procurement Officer. Hanks started as a server in 1998 before he was later promoted to General Manager. In 2007, Hanks became only the second General Manager to take over “The Original” Gringo’s location for the following 10 years before assuming a role in operations as Vice President. Hank’s passion to lead with Gringo’s core values at the center of his endeavors over the past 26 years demonstrates a steadfast commitment to his integrity, accountability, and compassion for the company and its team. Hanks will continue his leadership role as he assumes the position of purchasing and assessing all of the company’s products, and services while also being involved in the development of the company’s up-and-coming managers.

Gringo’s also promotes Matt Bussa who will be stepping up as Vice President of Operations and Amy Jo Owens who will assume the role of Vice President of Marketing. Bussa also started his tenure with the company as a server and worked his way to earning the coveted General Manager position at the flagship location, “The Original” Gringo’s in Pearland, Texas; being named only the third General Manager to manage this location. Owens, a 20-year veteran in the restaurant industry starting at Landry’s Corporate headquarters as an Operations Assistant, has helped sphere-head Gringo’s marketing efforts for over six years and will now lead her team to continued success. “To say I am proud of all these promotions and the people behind the titles is an understatement. These are the people who have made Gringo’s Mexican Kitchen a leader in the restaurant industry, but also in every community we are a part of,” says Founder and CEO, Russell Ybarra.

These moves are part of Russell Ybarra’s strategic vision to secure and guarantee the future leadership of Gringo’s and Jimmy Changas for decades to come. Ybarra has invested an abundance of time and energy in developing a strong leadership team who share the same philosophy of excellence along with a deep understanding of what the Gringo’s culture is all about. Whether it is team members, the community, or vendors, being a positive influence on everyone is the Gringo’s way.

As the company continues to expand, opening its 16th Gringo’s location at the end of 2023 and set to break ground on its 17th location in Tomball by the end of the first quarter, the company is currently operating 20 locations throughout Southeast Texas, Ybarra strongly believes that these moves will help Gringo’s not outgrow its management development capabilities for the foreseeable future.

For additional information about Gringo’s Mexican Kitchen, visit

Barbara Magana Robertson
Magana Media
email us here

Originally published at

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