Founder Terry Kaplan’s vision for Hugo’s was “a kitchen producing original, wonderful foods found nowhere else.” There are myriad details that contribute to making Hugo’s original and wonderful – and consciously delicious. Here are just a few:
We take a lot of pride in making it ourselves, so that our flavors and recipes are unique to Hugo’s. Just as bio-diversity is crucial in our environment, so too is it important in our diets. We have a big menu. Over 70 items plus Specials before we get to Create A Plates, where you can be your own chef minus the actual cooking. We search for over 600 ingredients to make close to 400 recipes. We choose cheese without animal rennet, organic sugar that hasn’t been processed with bone char, and Telichery black peppercorns from India to go in our pepper grinders.
Every menu item has a story. Half of the work is done in the prep kitchen, the other half “on the line” where our cooks finish your orders “a la minute”, or to the minute, just for you with (almost) any modifications you may require. Some dishes may contain a half dozen recipes or more. For instance our Cauliflower Pakora appetizer has a vegan, gluten-free red lentil batter seasoned with our house blend of organic Ayurvedic spices, and cooked in hexane-free, non-GMO oil. It’s served with our roasted garlic and jalapeno oil-free dressing, and house-made pickled jalapenos and vegetables. Those who aren’t vegan or gluten-free enjoy it equally.
We have old and new menu items, some from when we first expanded from Hugo’s Fine Meats to Hugo’s Restaurant. Other creations that started as Specials became classics over time. We are constantly trying to dazzle your palate while at the same time preparing our dishes in the healthiest
ways possible. We’ve created thousands of original dishes using inventive techniques while at the same time sticking to our philosophy of “stealthy healthy”.
We try to make the best, balanced choices each and every day from what’s on the market, just as you do for your own families. Our focus is on clean foods that everyone can enjoy together including dishes that are Vegetarian, Vegan, or Gluten-free. We screen every ingredient that comes in for allergens such as nuts, seeds, dairy, soy and added oils (not natural fats such as in meat or nuts). We have an Allergy Alert System in place for you, however, there is always a chance of mistakes and cross contamination. Although we buy mostly single-ingredient foods, some finished foods, like capers or veganaise, occasionally change an ingredient and we will not have been informed about the change. (Please see ”Our Limitations” below.)
Not all requests can be accommodated in the moment. Our kitchen has limitations, primarily size and storage. Please understand some limitations allow us to keep the kitchen running smoothly and quickly in order to serve you as you would want to be served, in a timely manner. In addition, our staff may not have all the answers you seek. We may need to track down information.
If you have serious allergies, please take the time to read through our published Allergen information with an honest assessment of how your reaction is triggered. For example, some people cannot tolerate raw garlic but can tolerate it when cooked. Your assessment will help us help you to determine how or if a dish can be modified to suit you. Considering the thousands of people we serve each week, we make very few mistakes, but we do not want to put you at risk.
If you are dangerously allergic to any items, our staff can’t assure your well being. You would be safer at a facility that is 100% guaranteed free from your allergens.
Currently our menu only addresses common allergens. We are not able to address all allergies. Ingredients such as garlic, onions, black pepper, tomatoes, celery root, etc., are commonly used in our kitchen. Our facility also contains soy, dairy, wheat and nuts – but no peanuts. For those with food sensitivities, we strive to be transparent about ingredients in our dishes. Please be aware, however, that our facility is not free of allergens and some contact may occur.
For allergy information and ingredients, click here
For more detailed information about our ingredient choices go to www.hugos.us.
When Terry first took over the business in 1975, Hugo’s was a butcher shop and Terry was a butcher. (He kept the name in deference to Hugo’s widow.) In Terry’s hands the shop sold the finest Eastern Veal and shared space with a European deli and grocery. Meaty deli cases took center stage, filled with gourmet take-out fare: stuffed roasts, pates, terrines. Stock pots simmered all day in the kitchen creating reductions that turned into 12 different sauces. In the 80’s, foodies were in flower and Hugo’s was Mecca, a carnival of tastes, sights and sounds that drew throngs through the door. They could sample everything while watching the pasta maker and find out how to use truffle oil or an exotic new mushroom no one else carried.
Soon they didn’t wait to take food with them. They wanted to eat right there in the middle of it all. Eventually, Hugo’s grew to take over the deli, an adjacent dry cleaners and a tailor shop. Hugo’s transformed from neighborhood take-out to full-fledged restaurant, creating breakfast fare as interesting as dinner. National media attention coined the phrase “Power Breakfast” to describe not only unusual menu items, but the trio of directors sitting in the corner doing business over cappuccinos.
In 1994 Terry retired and in 2000 the next generation company, a community of families – Tom and Emily Kaplan, joined by Rich and Leslie Brenner and Bill Kohne – began to build upon his mission statement. The restaurants rely on the talents of many, our amazing chef Nabor Diaz Prado and the entire staff who contribute so much of themselves everyday. We still produce original and wonderful food. We still value and respect each other, and the people we serve, spreading the kind of community we want to have take hold in the world.
We’re not afraid to be homey and present cutting-edge meals at the same time.If you feel a connection to our mission, then you’re a “Hugonaut,” too. As Terry said so eloquently, “The menu will change, but please, let’s let the Hugo philosophy continue – for love is our real true power.