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Restaurant Regulars

Snapshots of loyal patrons at their favorite neighborhood spots


Kelly Norman, 39, Solana Beach

The Brigantine Del Mar

Frequency: Several times a week for 15 years

Fun fact: He met his wife, Jessi, at The Brig and married her in the gardens. His horse racing syndicate meets here. “The people, food, and service make this place magic... and it attracts quality characters like Big Wave Dave, another regular.”


Gary W. Schons, 63, and wife Judy, Talmadge

Waterfront Bar and Grill

Frequency: Every other week since the early ’80s

His order: Chorizo with rice, beans, and flour tortillas; Bud Light in a bottle Ambiance: “The Kettner Street patio reminds us of our languid days at the Bonaparte Café in the St. Germain in Paris. It also affords us up-close access to the motorcycle riders and up-all-night drunks arriving in taxis for Sunday brunch.”


Dermot Gilligan, 48, Bankers Hill

Cucina Urbana & Cucina Enoteca

Frequency: Six times a week between the two restaurants

Order: At Cucina Enoteca: ricotta cavatelli, prime top sirloin, smoked salmon vasi. At Cucina Urbana: smoked trout vasi, rabbit sausage and ricotta ravioli, whole fish, Duroc pork chop

Fun fact: He refers to the Cucina restaurants as “his kitchen.” Also: “It’s a social environment, and I frequently meet people there who are visiting from other countries.”


Michael Ratcliffe, 42, wife Reiko, 39, Chula Vista

C Level Lounge

Frequency: Every other week for 10 years

Their order: Michael’s Crispy Artichoke Hearts (named after Michael), seared ahi stack, healthy skirts on fire salad

Fun fact: Michael and Reiko got engaged at C Level Lounge in 2013.


Andrew, 57, and Heidi Spurgin, Mission Hills

Café Chloe

Regulars since: It opened 10 years ago

Visits: Weekends for long lunches and the occasional dinner. “The food is simple, classic, consistent, and really delicious. You just want to move in and never leave.”

Their order: Always: Vespa rosé (“It’s local and damn good”) and pommes frites to start—“our favorite in town.” For brunch: Bistro salad. Steak frites. Croque Madame. Moules. Charcuterie.


Jeremy Argent, 76, Carlsbad

Vigilucci’s Seafood and Steakhouse

Frequency: Once a day since it opened in 2002

His order: The house Chardonnay. “The wine keeps me young at heart.”

His spot: “I start out at the bar, looking directly at that big blue ocean. Happy hour can get busy, so I always give up my spot. I relegate myself back to the wall and have my wine.”


Jerry and Sequoia Neptune, mid-60s and late 30s, Del Mar

Solace and the Moonlight Lounge

Frequency: Every Friday night since it opened in 2011

Spot: A table on the second floor, facing the stairway. “It’s not a table they’ll usually hold for people, but they reserve it for us.”

Fun fact: “They had a special tequila, Alquimia, that I used to really like. They only had one bottle and couldn’t get it anymore, but they special-ordered another bottle just for me.”


Dorothy Dividian, 84, Little Italy

Ironside Fish & Oyster

Frequency: Three times a week

Spot: At the bar high-tops

Fun fact: The first oyster she ever had was a Kusshi at Ironside. “The first time, it was so noisy. I thought, I’ll never like this. But I started to go back, and the noise didn’t bother me as much. Maybe I’m not hearing that well.”


Chris and Holly Harris, 48 and 51, Encinitas

Solace and the Moonlight Lounge

Frequency: Every Sunday around 9:30 a.m. for about four years

Their order: They always start with oysters, a bottle of Champagne, and a side of peach puree to make their own Bellinis. Holly recommends the seared albacore chop chop. “If you’re gluten-intolerant, they’ll serve it with cucumber slices… I try to stay away from bread. That thing on the table? My purse looks like a sandwich.”


Ron Johnson, 82 years young, Pacific Beach

The Cravory

Frequency: Every Tuesday between 10:30 and 11:30, for two years

His order: 1 dozen cookies (3 Lemon Bar, 3 Chocolate Truffle, and 3 of two other flavors).

Cookie goodwill: His absolute favorite flavor is Lump of Coal, but he gets the flavors above each week for the ladies at Project Wildlife, where he volunteers at the Zoo. They call him the "Cookie Monster" (and his volunteer’s nametag reads “Cookie Monster,” too).


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