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Meet Zack Walters of La Grande Orange Cafe in Pasadena

Today we’d like to introduce you to Zack Walters.

Zack, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
Grew up in Oklahoma City. Worked in restaurants through high school, mainly front of house positions like bussing and barbacking. Moved to the kitchen at 18 and it really clicked for me. After working in a Japanese restaurant for three years during college, I decided to move out to San Francisco. Landed a job at Rubicon. Stayed in SF for about a year and a half before moving to LA. In LA, I took a job at the newly opened Hungry Cat. Circa 2005. Spent a couple of years there as the chef de cuisine before moving on to pursue my own project. Took much longer than expected but in 2010, my business partner and I opened Salt’s Cure. I left the business in 2017. I felt it was just time to move on. I had known the owner of LGO for awhile and brought up the transition with him. I was quickly placed in Pasadena to head up LGO Cafe and Luggage Room Pizzeria. Been there since.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Not a smooth road, because there is no “road”. There is only one path for cooks, hard work and dedication. Politics aside, you need to be in the game for the long haul. You have to look at the job as a craft and not get sucked in too deep with the artistry.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the La Grande Orange Cafe story. Tell us more about the business.
La Grande Orange Cafe is a full-service restaurant in Pasadena’s historic 1934 Del Mar Train Station. It was how movie stars like Clark Gable would get to Hollywood back in the day. We took over in 2008 and kept the space as similar to the original architecture as we could. We are known for straight forward farm to table food and drinks. Service is top priority and it shows. I am most proud of our consistent pursuit to find results. Every problem is tackled democratically to get the best results. It allows for everyone to feel their strengths. Our commitment to service and accommodation sets us apart. That and the food. We do large volume and we do not cut corners. Food and fresh and made to order.

Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
It’s more about comfort in success. Knowing yourself and your boundaries.

Contact Info:


Image Credit:

LGO Hospitality/Sara Abbott

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