Quick 6 – Meet Ezzy.

If you were to look up the definition for the word commitment in the dictionary, I’m pretty sure you would find the name Isaias “Ezzy” Anguiano. As a Lead in our kitchens, his commitment to family, friends and to STONEFIRE are second to none, and we are extremely honored to call him family.

Isaias is without a doubt the longest standing Team Member at STONEFIRE. Starting with Mary before STONEFIRE was even a thought, his commitment surpasses many. When asked just how long he has been working with the Harrigan family, Ezzy replied with a smile, “I stopped counting after 30 years.”

His dedication was evident upon my arrival to the restaurant, as I found him working hard behind the grill, and with a little (or a lot) of nudging, I was able to drag him out to the patio for our interview. As we sat down, I learned that this humble, hardworking father of two can truly touch you with his thoughtful answers and encouraging stories of growing up in Mexico with 7 (yes, 7!) siblings. I learned quite a bit about Ezzy’s story, but what I loved most is learning that family values are at the core everything he does.

Team Member: You’ve obviously done an incredible job raising 2 [independent] kids. What is the key to strengthening a family?

Ezzy: That is a good question. I never want them to feel like they need to leave. In the Mexican culture, we like to keep our kids close. You know, they are still my babies, and I don’t want to see them go, so we [he and his wife, Anna] make them feel wanted.

TM: Since you’re the king of all things grill…Tri Tip, Chicken or Baby Back Ribs?

Ezzy: I like all of them. I don’t know which one I like most. We eat chicken a lot, but I always like eating the Tri Tip and Ribs. When I go on vacation for a few weeks every year, I always want STONEFIRE. You miss it when you’re gone.

TM: What is one thing you learned from your dad that you’ve tried to pass along to your kids?

Ezzy: I think one thing he taught me was how to work. My dad was a farmer, and he worked everyday. I learned that from him.

TM: Did you and your dad cook at home? What was his best meal?

Ezzy: My family is very traditional, so I learned how to cook from my Mom. When I go on vacation to visit her, she always makes my favorite meal [chile rellenos], and even though I am old, she likes to say that I am still her baby.

TM: I’m sensing a theme here 🙂

TM: When you were a kid, what did you want to grow up to be?

Ezzy: Growing up, I always dreamed of being a truck driver. I never thought I would be a cook. That was always considered girls’ work, and the boys would go to the farm. But, when I was younger, I started working as a dishwasher, and I slowly made my way up to being a Kitchen Manager.

TM: What is your favorite thing about working for STONEFIRE?

Ezzy: I think my favorite thing about working for STONEFIRE is having fun! If you don’t have fun, you will look for something else or you wouldn’t be happy. If you have fun, you will be happy and smile all the time.

For the record, this is a guy who smiles A LOT 🙂 We couldn’t be more grateful for Ezzy’s loyalty, passion and incredibly hard work over his countless years with us.

 

 

Si fuera a buscar la definición de la palabra “compromiso” en el diccionario, estoy muy seguro de que encontrará el nombre de Isaías “Ezzy” Anguiano. Como uno de los jefes en nuestras cocinas, su compromiso a la familia, sus amigos y a STONEFIRE son segundos a ninguno, y nos sentimos muy honrados de llamarlo familia.

Isaías es, sin duda, el miembro más mayor de nuestro equipo en STONEFIRE. Comenzando con María antes de que STONEFIRE siquiera era un pensamiento, su compromiso supera muchos. Cuando se le preguntó cuánto tiempo ha estado trabajando con la familia Harrigan, Ezzy respondió con una sonrisa: “Me dejó de contar después de 30 años.”

Su dedicación fue evidente a mi llegada al restaurante, como lo encontré trabajando duro detrás de la parrilla, y con un poco (o mucho) de codazos, tuve la oportunidad de sacarlo al patio para nuestra entrevista. Cuando nos sentamos, me enteré de que este humilde padre, trabajador de dos realmente te puede tocar con sus respuestas bien pensadas e historias alentadoras de crecimiento en México con 7 (sí, 7!) hermanos. Aprendí un poco sobre la historia de Ezzy, pero lo que más me gustó es el aprendizaje que los valores de la familia están en el núcleo de todo lo que hace.

Team Member: Usted ha hecho obviamente una increíble trabajo criando a 2 niños [independientes]. ¿Cuál es la clave para el fortalecimiento de una familia?

Ezzy: Esa es una buena pregunta. No quiero que se sientan como que necesitan salir. En la cultura mexicana, nos gusta mantener a nuestros hijos cercas. Ya sabes, no dejan de ser mis hijos, y no quiero verlos partir, por lo que [él y su esposa, Anna] hacer que se sientan queridos.

TM: Es conocido como el rey de todas las cosas de la parrilla … Tri Tip, Pollo o Costillas?

Ezzy: Me gusta todos. No sé cual me gusta más. Comemos pollo mucho, pero siempre me gusta comer Tri Tip y las Costillas. Cuando me voy de vacaciones por unas semanas cada año, siempre quiero STONEFIRE. Lo echa de menos cuando se va.

TM: ¿Cuál es una cosa que aprendió de su padre que usted les ha tratado de transmitir a sus hijos?

Ezzy: Creo que me enseñó a trabajar. Mi padre era un agricultor, y trabajó todos los días. Eso lo aprendí de él.

TM: ¿Usted y su papá cocinaban en casa? ¿Cuál era su comida mejor?

Ezzy: Mi familia es muy tradicional, así que aprendió a cocinar de mi mamá. Cuando me voy de vacaciones a visitarla, ella siempre hace mi comida preferida [chiles rellenos], y aunque yo soy viejo, le gusta decir que todavía estoy su bebé.

TM: Estoy sintiendo un tema aquí 🙂

TM: Cuando eras niño, ¿qué queria ser?

Ezzy: Siempre soñaba ser un conductor de camión. Nunca pensé que iba a ser un cocinero. Eso siempre fue considerado el trabajo de las mujeres, y los caballeros irían a la granja. Pero, cuando era más joven, empecé a trabajar como lavaplatos, y poco a poco me abrí paso hasta ser un Manager de Cocina.

TM: ¿Cuál es tu parte favorita de trabajar en STONEFIRE?

Ezzy: Creo que lo que más me gusta de trabajar en STONEFIRE es divertirse! Si usted no tiene la diversión, se le busque otra cosa o que no sería feliz. Si usted tiene diversión, será feliz y sonreír todo el tiempo.

La verdad es que Ezzy es el tipo que sonríe mucho 🙂 No podríamos estar más agradecido por la lealtad de Ezzy, su pasión y trabajo muy duro durante sus innumerables años con nosotros.

xo – STONEFIRE Grill

Quick 6 – Meet Chandler.

Meet Chandler! He’s an original member of the STONEFIRE Family, having worked with Mary well before STONEFIRE even began. Chandler was 16 when Mary hired him, and now, 21 years later, he continues to bring a sense of joy, fun and authenticity to everyone he meets.

Currently a manager at our Fountain Valley location, both colleagues and guests alike look forward to seeing and interacting with him each and every day. We’re proud to have “grown up” with this guy – not only a beloved member of our team, but a charismatic, devoted and caring individual who lifts up others around him.

Upon my arrival to the restaurant, I was instantly greeted with Chandler’s signature smile and warm eyes, both of which make you feel like you’re closest friend. Sitting down for the interview, this feelings continued as he playfully and genuinely answered each one of my questions. Though I’ve only personally known Chandler for a few years now, I walked away from our brief meeting with a new understanding of what makes him the wonderful person he is.

Here’s a quick snapshot for you…

Team Member: What is the most rewarding experience you have had?

Chandler Peck: Probably my surf trips to Mexico would be the most rewarding for me. We’re able to see how really simple things like kicking around a soccer ball with the local kids can totally change their lives. The surf was great, but also heading into town and helping build orphanages or homes and seeing the excitement on their faces. It was always a great experience.

TM: Favorite STONEFIRE menu item?

CP: Do you want to know what I eat every single day? Keep in mind, I’ve been around STONEFIRE for a while now. I eat a half chicken breast (completely plain), or I eat Pepper Garlic Tri Tip. I would say both are my favorites.

TM: Who or what inspires you?

CP: What motivates me or inspires me is regretting or not taking advantage of opportunities that are presented to me.

TM: What was the best vacation you ever had?

CP:  I’ve had a few favorites, but my recent trip to Kauai, Hawaii was one of the better ones I’ve taken. My girlfriend, Leann, and I are very active, and we were able to pack in a lot of excursions in the short time we were there.

TM: What was your favorite sitcom growing up?

CP:This is a hard one because we didn’t grow up watching a lot of TV. When I was really young, I would look forward to watching Saved By the Bell in the morning. That’s probably the show I always watched when I was a kid. I thought it was a funny show.

TM: What has STONEFIRE taught you?

CPNothing. No, I’m kidding! There has been a lot I’ve learned, but the thing that sticks out to me is the details. Every detail matters, even when you might think it’s obvious or common sense. I’ve always been taught that every little thing matters. Everything you teach or are taught is valuable.

xo STONEFIRE

10.6: Countdown to 9/26

So, we thought we’d take a break from the entries of late to give you some quick information about our 10th Anniversary Celebration.  Here are the details:

On Sunday, September 26, 2010, at our Valencia location from 11am to 3pm:

The first 3,000 guests to arrive and donate a minimum of $1 to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation will be treated to a delicious buffet of BBQ Tri Tip, Garlic Mashed Potatoes, BBQ Chopped Salad and our Freshly Baked Breadsticks.  Pepsi soft drinks and bottled water will also be served.

We’re also creating THE WORLD’S LARGEST CARROT CAKE, a 10’x10′ monstrosity, for everyone to enjoy!

Entertainment will be provided by KEARTH 101 and local high schools feauturing Canyon Jazz Band, West Ranch Cheerleaders, Hart Show Choir, Valencia Dance Team, Golden Valley Jazz Band and Saugus Dance Team.  In addition, local ROTC members have generously volunteered their time to be of service to everyone!

If you can’t make it to Valencia, stop by any other STONEFIRE Grill location on 9/26, donate at least $1 to CFF and receive a FREE dessert voucher for your next visit (valid 9/27/10 – 10/31/10).

We hope to raise $20,000 for this worthy cause, so please lend your support to the community and one another as we commemorate 10 YEARS STRONG.

And, of course, continue celebrating with us as we offer the Taste of STONEFIRE – THE complete individual meal for only $10 (dine in only)!

Quick 6 – Meet Elodie.

Meet Elodie! As a valued member of our Catering Office Team for the past two years, Elodie brings her genuine heart of service to our guests and fellow Team Members alike. In honor of Mother’s Day this week, we’re thrilled to share a little more about who Elodie is for us and her family.

It was very evident when I spontaneously popped in to visit the Catering Office that Elodie, with the phone ringing off the hook in the background, made a point to welcome and wish me a good morning. Her cheerful attitude and eagerness to live out the “Happy to Serve” mantra is incredibly contagious and sincerely appreciated by those around her.

After sitting down with Elodie, I discovered that this mother to Dylan (7) and Audrey (2), wife and dedicated member of the STONEFIRE Grill family is extremely busy, and she wouldn’t have it any other way.

Team Member: As a very busy mother and business woman – how would you describe your time in both roles?

Elodie Barnes: At work, I am in a fast-paced environment, meeting deadlines all day and assisting guests in planning various events, both large and small. Once I leave the office, I am still busy, but in a different way. I am room mom for my son’s class, team mom for my son’s baseball team, and always running after my 2 year-old girl, who is currently potty training.  My evenings are busy with cooking dinner, helping with homework and extra activities for both the kids. I wear many different hats, and all of them keep me busy, fulfilled and happy.

TM: What has given you the most joy as a mother?

EB: The greatest joy is watching my kids grow up everyday and becoming their own individual person. It is fun to watch the characteristics that they pick up from their parents. My daughter is a mini me – very outgoing and talkative. With my son, he turns more mature and handsome everyday and is just like his dad. I also love hearing my kids laugh! They are so happy and innocent, and the sound of a child’s laughter is priceless!

TM: Tell us a funny “guess what my kid did” story about Dylan or Audrey.

EB: Last week, my 2 year-old took a blue crayon and drew all over the big screen TV and  floor. Not sure how to get it off the TV, but the screen looks cracked. I mentioned it before, but my daughter is potty training…enough said.

TM: If you could travel anywhere in the world for a week, where would you go and why?

EB: I would go to Barbados. I read a book as a child, and it has always seemed like a mystically tropical island that is enticing.

TM: What is your favorite thing about the STONEFIRE Culture?

EB: That we have fun at work! We have a great Team atmosphere, and we thrive both individually and as a whole.

TM: Do you have any recipes committed to memory that you learned from your mom?

EB: Crepes, a traditional French snack. Add a little jam or Nutella and you have a delicious treat.

TM: What is one piece of advice you learned from your mom?

EB: Always stay true to yourself and follow your heart.

xo STONEFIRE

Quick 6 – Meet Jacob.

Meet Jacob. This fun loving friend, husband and father of two (adorable little boys), is the General Manager of our Thousand Oaks location. We thought you should know Jacob like we do, so we recently sat down to ask him a few random questions.

We have to mention that what isn’t pictured above or captured in the writing below are the countless “outtakes” because of a funny face or [our] inability to continue writing because we couldn’t stop laughing. To experience this first hand, you will have to visit Jacob at our Thousand Oaks location. 🙂

Quick 6 Questions:

TEAM MEMBER: If you could star in any movie, what would it be and which character would you play?
JACOB: When I was a kid, I wanted to be the main character in The Princess Bride. There was sword fighting, he was attractive, had a killer mustache and was very romantic.

TM: What’s your favorite STONEFIRE menu item?
JACOB: I would say, I always have to go back to the Barb Chop [BBQ Chopped Salad]. If I don’t know what to get, I order the BBQ Chopped and I am a happy man.

TM: Which holiday do you consider your favorite?
JACOB: That is a good question. Well, now that I have kids, my interests have definitely changed, so it’s no longer St. Patty’s Day. I am an adult with children, so Christmas is definitely fun with my 3 year old. Can I also include my wife’s birthday? I always have a great time being able to celebrate her and thank her for the incredible job she does.

TM: What is the best meal you prepare at home?
JACOB: I love to cook, but the best is what my wife likes, and her favorite is when I make fish tacos with homemade tortillas. It is definitely a trade off with us. She makes the coffee; I can’t make coffee like her.

TM: What would you do if you won the lottery?
JACOB: Good question. I would probably take vacations with my family more often. That is pretty much it.

TM: What do you enjoy most about STONEFIRE?
JACOB: For me, it would be the sense of family. I’ve worked in a lot of restaurants, and this is the first one where you really feel cared about. They’ve had patience, and that’s allowed me to grow into the person and leader that I am.

XO STONEFIRE

NEW LOOK. SAME FEELING.

If you’re in STONEFIRE any time soon, you may notice that things are a little bit different.  We’ll give you a hint that you won’t find anywhere else:

New look. Same feeling. We just thought we’d share with everyone how we really feel about extending our kitchen to your hearts and homes!  We’re excited to see YOU back again soon.

xo STONEFIRE

 

10.1: Celebrating 10 Years

On a small side-street in Valencia in 2000, an idea became a reality as we opened the first STONEFIRE Grill.  We began with a humble attempt to try something new in restaurant dining, and 10 years later, with 7 STONEFIRE locations, it is both unbelievable and exciting that we are the leader in the restaurant industry for fast-casual, family-style dining, takeout and catering services.  The simplicity of our concept – quality, delicious food with exceptional service and value prices – is the key to our success.  Still, there is something more that makes STONEFIRE Grill unique and our success so great.  It’s the people, the team that makes up our STONEFIRE family.  Our growth and success have been fueled by an amazing group of dedicated individuals, many of them with us for the entire 10 years.

Trent is the General Manager of our Pasadena location.  He was on the opening team in Valencia just out of high school.  Elsa started as a dishwasher with limited English in 2000 and today, she is our go-to girl, managing in both Chatsworth and Valencia and recently spending 2 months on our opening management team in Thousand Oaks.  Tig has also been with us since we opened.  He is mentally challenged and has worked for 10 years in our Valencia location bringing smiles to our faces daily with his simplicity, his humor and his honest approach to life that supersedes language barriers, cultural differences and personalities.

My stories are endless, my team irreplaceable.

It has been an amazing journey these past 10 years.  We have come to know different communities spanning Southern California and have gone from a team of 50 to a team of over 500.  We have developed friendships and relationships in each new community we have entered, because it has always been about you, our guest, the STONEFIRE Team and what we are collectively.  With food as our vehicle, we touch each other’s lives and share. We are so proud of our relationships in each community, and we look forward to the future as we continue to grow.

As we celebrate our 10 year anniversary, we also celebrate our beautiful new website.  It was designed by a few very talented individuals on our STONEFIRE Team with an interactive approach in mind.  We hope you enjoy hearing from us regularly via our site as we communicate the many aspects that make us STONEFIRE.  As you can imagine, 10 years has brought many incredible people, stories and events to our family, and we plan to share with you our favorite memories using this blog.  Stay tuned as we count down to our 10 year anniversary celebration and remember all that has made us 10 years old and 10 years strong.

From the entire STONEFIRE Family, we thank you for your support over these years.  As always, our continued goal is for the FIRE that is us to continue to spread from our kitchens to your hearts.

Sincerely,

Mary Harrigan