This restaurant has been a part of my family since about 1993 when my sister worked at the very first San Diego location that had to move into a new larger location within months of opening. Truth be told, each menu item you could probably find anywhere else, but the preparation set it above the rest. Here it was hand-made with love by an amazing family with subtle combinations of spices and huge flavors that left us craving more.
When I moved to LA, I immediately flooded their inbox trying to get locations up in LA because we couldn’t live without it. When they opened one near my work I took a whole group in immediatley to make sure it was an instant hit. They appreciated my effort and gave us a free business lunch to infiltrate the company even further. Once people tasted the buttery garlic breadsticks, they were hooked.
At some point, the family sold their restaurant to a larger chain and the fans were fiercely loyal promising to stick with them – as long as NOTHING changed! The backbone of the company stayed the same with the flavors carefully monitored. All changes were welcome additions and improvements. We as a family of patrons approved.
When I moved north of LA, I consistently emailed with location availability and such trying to get them into their perfect demographic of my over-populated family-friendly community.
After my divorce I moved to where I live now, and having one of their restaurants within minutes from my house told me I’d made the right choice for where to grow roots. This became my children’s all-time favorite place to eat and celebrate birthdays or raise money for their school or the philanthropic runs I participated in.
Sadly now, the company changes again as the current owners (I lost count of what number owner they are) files for bankruptcy. The location near our home closed, but the franchises persevere. We’re desperately holding onto hope that they’ll keep going, and desperately holding onto traditions centered around the restaurant.
So tonight, to INDULGE us in our tradition of having Oscars (the original restaurant name had no “Pat &”) while watching the Oscars. We drove over 30 minutes away on a school night which, if you count the cost of our SUV “limo,” added at least another $15 dollars. But the joy of seeing my kids’ cling to their golden reward – breadsticks, and hearing their acceptance speech “I can’t believe it, it’s like a dream come true!” was so worth it.
We wound up not even watching the Oscar’s – which may have redefined the tradition for the future!