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Meet Brian Cousins of Cafe del Rey in Marina del Rey

Today we’d like to introduce you to Brian Cousins.

Brian, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
We began 26 years ago. We are the only fine dining restaurant in Marina del Rey. We specialize in seafood as we are on the water. The restaurant has always worked with talented Chefs who continually update and challenge our guests with current trends. We don’t rest on dishes in the 26-year canon but rather offer our guests great and sustainable seafood in modern preparations. We continually win the Best Restaurant in our local papers. We hope to honor our position with our guest first philosophy. We are a beacon for celebration here at the marina. Folks come to celebrate birthdays, anniversaries and life every day here. We take that very seriously as these are special days for our guests and they choose to come here to let us participate with them on their occasion.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
It is tough to stay relevant in a ‘foodie’ town. There are so many fantastic restaurants in Los Angeles. The communities change all of the time. People’s eating habits change all of the time. It is a challenge to stay current and to be ‘new’ again for diners around us. After 26 years we have developed a good following of people who know us and have been here over the years. Getting a more consistent and indeed a growing market is what we strive to do every day.

Please tell us about Cafe del Rey.
We only work with sustainable seafood. We are one of two restaurants that work with the Monterey Bay’s Seafood Watch program to guarantee that what we serve is plentiful in the ocean and not marred by waste or chemicals. We are the only fine dining restaurant in the marina. We honor classic service on white linen. Our wine list is an award-winning collection of wines from all over the world. We are not stuffy but personable and warm with our guests.

If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
To begin this endeavor now might be a difficult task. Fine dining is a small niche in our dining culture. It demands a refinement and with that a financial commitment that casual restaurants never have to think about. I would think to start now we might not shoot for the caliber of dining that we try to achieve every day. We might be just another new brewpub or fast casual spot. And with the coming wage pressure from the minimum wage hikes, it will be even tougher for all of us in the restaurant world to bring money to the bottom line.

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