Show 373, May 16, 2020: Restaurateur Christy Vega, Casa Vega, Sherman Oaks

Christy Vega of Casa VegaThe enduring Casa Vega is a landmark Mexican restaurant that has been operating in the San Fernando Valley for almost 64 years. It’s located on the familiar Ventura Blvd. in Sherman Oaks and is one of the longest running, continuously family-owned restaurants in greater Los Angeles. Rafael “Ray” Vega opened Casa Vega in 1956 after being inspired by the success of his parents’ earlier restaurant, Café Caliente, which was on Olvera St. and operated throughout the 1930’s. Casa Vega has recently reopened for take-out via advance order online or by telephone.

Casa Vega is now open from 12 Noon – 8 p.m. daily. Initially, guests can order directly by phone (818-788-4868) or online via the Casa Vega website. Guests can pick up from their cars – Casa Vega staff will place orders in the trunk or backseat as they wait in the restaurant’s driveway off Ventura Blvd.

Favorites on the take-out menu include Combination Plates and Street Tacos, both served with rice and beans, Taquitos de Juan (chicken flautas), Burritos, four different Family Trays, Chips, Guacamole, Salsa, Kids Meals, and more. In addition to beer and wine, Casa Vega offers its Classic Margarita in a single serving mason jar with ice, ready to drink for $7. Other margarita variations are available for $7-9. The Classic Margarita is also available in a half gallon size for $30.

“Over the years, Casa Vega has remained, at its core, much the same as my father’s original vision,” says Christy Vega. “The menu continues to reflect the offerings originally presented some 64 years ago with slight alterations that speak to today’s culinary tastes. From the menu, to the dim ambiance of the dining room, to the staff—many of which have been with our team for decades—Casa Vega is a testament to my father and the wonderful history he has created. I look forward to continuing to uphold his legacy of service, authentic traditions, and most of all, the love and adoration that emanates throughout every corner of the restaurant and inspires our clients to return time and time again.

Proprietress Christy Vega pours the Classic Margaritas for us.


Show 184, August 13, 2016: Chef Ted Hopson & Beverage Director Ann-Marie Verdi, The Bellwether, Studio City

Ann Marie Verdi and Ted Hopson of the BellwetherThe Bellwether is the debut restaurant (launched in early August of 2015) and bar from Executive Chef/Owner Ted Hopson and Beverage Director/Owner Ann-Marie Verdi. The market-inspired menu aims to capitalize on the abundance of California produce in order to showcase one-of-a-kind food and drink menus that feature family style shareable dishes, unique infusion based cocktails, and a hand-selected list of beer and wine.

Equal attention is warranted for the thoughtful beverage program created by Ann-Marie Verdi (also formerly of Father’s Office) who has worked closely with Chef Hopson to create complementary cocktails infused with much of the same seasonal produce found in the menu.

A weekend Brunch standout cocktail is Mama Betty’s Bloody Mary. It’s house-infused Habanero Vodka, house mix, bacon salt and topped with a cute mini-BLT.

“Our years of combined industry experience have impacted every decision we have made throughout this process and seeing our ideas turn into reality has been incredibly rewarding,” says Hopson. “We focused on creating the type of experience we would want as guests, and we couldn’t be more excited to be able to share that with everyone !”

Chef Ted and Ann-Marie are our guests.



Show 180, July 16, 2016: Christy Vega, Proprietress Casa Vega, Sherman Oaks, CA

Christy VegaThe classic Casa Vega is a family-owned Mexican restaurant that has been a Sherman Oaks landmark for 60 years. They are celebrating their 60th Anniversary in style with cocktails and a special seven- course menu this Saturday night, July 16th. It’s a benefit for the L.A. Regional Food Bank.

The celebrity guest chef is Baja’s Javier Plascencia (Bracero and Mision 19) He will alternate courses with the Casa Vega culinary team. Think Evo Poached Baja Hiramassa with guacachile, yuzu, crunchy eggplant, and yellow tomato tartar.

Casa Vega is a family-owned Mexican restaurant that has been a Los Angeles landmark for 60 years. Opened in 1956 by Rafael “Ray” Vega, Casa Vega serves authentic Mexican food and drinks in a warm, festive atmosphere. You don’t survive in the highly competitive San Fernando Valley for 60 years unless you give your guests a compelling reason to return and bring their friends.

Today Ray’s daughter, Christina “Christy” Vega (as seen on Food Network’s “Guy’s Grocery Games,” NBC’s “TODAY” Show, CBS’s “This Morning,” ABC’s “The View,” and more) is at the helm of the time-honored restaurant. From crowd-pleasing dishes such as traditional chicken mole, burritos, enchiladas, and tostadas, to tasty house-made margaritas and mojitos (the margarita base is a treasured house-recipe) and mojitos, Casa Vega features an extensive and time-tested menu.

2nd generation proprietress Christy Vega is our guest.


Show 61, February 15, 2013: Bob Spivak, President, CEO, and Co-Founder, Grill Concepts, Inc.

The Grill on the Alley30 years ago dining history was made in Beverly Hills (a tough city for restaurant longevity) with the launch of The Grill on the Alley which is better known as The Grill. It soon evolved into a high profile business destination for lunch for the power brokers of Hollywood. Where your table was signified your status in the Entertainment Business. No one arrived before 1:00 p.m. At night it became a destination for affluent locals with a very loyal following. Unusually for the time pretentiousness was never part of the gameplan. It also was the start of a significant restaurant company with three successful concepts.

To this day the signature Cobb Salad (a faithful homage to the iconic Brown Derby) is the most popular menu item. Bob likes to feel it’s a true recreation of this classic dish from the long departed heritage restaurant in Beverly Hills that was a forerunner of The Grill. The most popular dessert is the house rice pudding, a perennial favorite.

Grill Concepts, Inc. continues to flourish to this day. Public School (“an education in the art of food and beer”) is the newest concept (with a sense of humor) with locations in Downtown Los Angeles, Culver City and Thousand Oaks. Northern California (Mountain View) and Sherman Oaks are next, and more locations are on the horizon. It’s a bar & restaurant gathering spot.

Founder Bob Spivak, a second generation restaurateur with a love for the hospitality business, joins us to share the fascinating story.

“We are so fortunate to have been in business for 30 years,” President, CEO, and Co-Founder Bob Spivak said. “In the ever changing restaurant industry, we are proud to say that we were vintage before it was trendy. And we will continue to maintain the tradition of exceptional service and timeless cuisine that guests have come to count on.”