"I'm especially proud of my service. It's all about teamwork; they don't think just of themselves. My servers started out knowing nothing about the food, but they all have special qualities about them that make the front-of-the-house experience unique and -- unpretentious is the word. Some restaurateurs out there tell me I'm doing it wrong because we want people to be comfortable. We have comfortable banquettes, comfortable chairs. People like to hang out here, and I love it.

"This is becoming Escondido's 'special occasion' restaurant. People love to see me writing on dessert plates. We do a lot of anniversaries, birthdays, engagements. That's a very special thing, when people pick your restaurant to celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary."

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