San Diego: Eddie Grader at A.R. Valentien
One of the restaurant's original servers, Grader started the job with just a year of bussing tables and running requests behind the bar under his belt. Now, 15 years later, he’s often requested by repeat guests who appreciate his friendly demeanor as well as the restaurant's New American cuisine. The restaurant's chef Jeff Jackson and its wine program has sparked an interest in viticulture and enology, and Grader occasionally works part-time at wineries in Fallbrook and Temecula.
Secret to success: “I really try to understand that every person is different and has different needs. At the exact same time, I think everyone has similar expectations when dining. Meaning, everyone wants to be taken care of, listened to and given a great dining experience."
Insider tip: “Being a huge fish fan, my preferred menu items would be anything fish-centric. Our fish is always wild, fresh and sustainable and my personal favorite would be the sablefish, also known as black cod. It's delicate, flaky and has a buttery flavor.”
11480 N. Torrey Pines Rd., La Jolla; 858-777-6635