At the Rancho Santa Fe Food Company, it's all about the food.
In a social media age where restaurants often emphasize a food's presentation — sometimes over the quality of the taste — officials with the year-old Rancho Santa Fe Food Company say they do not compromise their dishes to gain extra likes on Facebook or Instagram.
"People come here because we serve simple food that has a ton of flavor," said Sam Guillen, general manager of the restaurant at 18021 Calle Ambiente, Rancho Santa Fe, 92067. " I think a lot of residents are used to fine dining and are used to people trying to create pieces of art with food. With a lot of those resources, I think being able to have a great place where you can have a great meal at an affordable price is awesome. This is a neighborhood daily dining spot that you can count on every day."
The restaurant serves a variety of dishes, with some of its most popular being the ribeye sandwich and heirloom tomato and burrata salad, Guillen said. Most entrees are affordable and priced below $15.
They also serve slow-cooked, fall-off-the-bone St. Louis-style ribs every Wednesday on a reservation-only basis.
"Doing ribs well is a process," Guillen explained. "Sometimes when you do something really well, doing it in small batches is what really maintains the quality. We want to make sure we get it right every time. Once we're out on Wednesdays, we're out."
In addition to its meals, the restaurant has also become known for its pies, fresh-baked goods, pastries, cookies, cakes and desserts.
"Many people have actually come to know us as a bakery first," Guillen said. "When we first started, we were primarily a bakery that evolved into a restaurant."
Delorine Jackson, who opened the Rancho Santa Fe Food Company in September 2016 with her husband Robert Jackson on the side of their careers in real estate, said she originally pictured the restaurant to be a bakery that also serves breakfast and lunch.
Delorine, who grew up in a Korean orphanage until she was 8, explained that ever since she was adopted by an American family, she's had a "sweets fetish."
"I fell in love with baked goods because I didn't get to have that until I came here to the United States," Delorine said. "I've always had a passion for baking."
Because the Jacksons' son has food allergies, Delorine said the restaurant's chef is also well-versed in catering to a variety of diets and food sensitivities. For example, they create a pizza crust that is gluten-free that could easily compete with its regular dough, she said.
Guillen said the restaurant has become a popular spot for locals to dine casually and comfortably at an affordable price. Some families eat at the restaurant three or four times a week, he said.
"I think we're all really passionate about food and making people happy,” he said. “There's nothing more rewarding than walking around the restaurant and asking people if they're enjoying their food and having a good time. To see those smiles on their faces and knowing they know your name, it's very exciting."
For more information about the Rancho Santa Fe Food Company, visit www.ranchosantafefoodco.com.
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