VENTURA COUNTY WEEKEND : TIDBITS : Father, Son Put in Long Hours at New Eatery

Pedro and Jack Martinez hope hard work pays off at the new El Gallo restaurant that opened in September.

For now, Pedro Martinez and his son Jack Martinez are working seven days a week, about 13 hours a day at their new restaurant. Long hours, to be sure. But they intend to take a day off sometime in the near future.

"We plan to close one of these days," said Pedro Martinez, co-owner of El Gallo Restaurant in Camarillo. "But we have to know first which is our slowest day."

The Martinez family opened the restaurant in mid-September, shortly after closing a smaller restaurant by the same name that they had operated for 13 years at 6th and B streets in Oxnard.

"My son [Jack] came back from the Marines and he said he wanted to own a restaurant," said Pedro Martinez. "I said, 'Well, we've got to make it a little bigger then.' That's why we moved to Camarillo."

In keeping with the El Gallo tradition, all dishes at the new restaurant are made in the style common to Jalisco, Mexico, where the Martinez family is from. The menu includes a selection of about a dozen burritos and tostadas, five tacos and eight hot tortas. Daily specials and combination plates are also available.

Favorites among the customers, so far, are the enchilada plates, carne en jugo (meat served in its own juices), and charbroiled beef dishes, said Pedro Martinez. "The important thing is we make everything here, even the salsa," he said. "Nothing is from cans."

El Gallo Restaurant is located at 4421 Las Posas Road, in the Crossroads Shopping Center.


Those interested in gathering up some food items to give as gifts this holiday season--or to indulge in themselves--may want to check out the Barn Shop at Faulkner Farm in Santa Paula on Saturday or Sunday.

Lin Ayers, co-owner of the ranch and a master food preserver, has stocked the place with a variety of jams and jellies to coincide with the ranch's pumpkin season and the operation of its popular pumpkin patch.

The product selection includes preserves made from pomegranates, strawberries, pumpkins, persimmons, grapes, apples, pears, plums, apricots, oranges and lemons.

Ayers also has created a strawberry-guava jam and a pumpkin chutney. Pumpkin muffins and pumpkin bread are also for sale. The Barn Shop, tucked away in a corner of the farm's 109-year-old red barn, will close for the season after Sunday. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. The farm is located off Highway 126, at Briggs and Telegraph roads.


Giovanni's Restaurant in Camarillo will host a multi-course dinner Saturday, highlighting French champagne, Italian red wine and Napa Valley Chardonnay.

The meal will open with a smoked salmon appetizer, followed by grilled vegetables with prosciutto served over French beans with balsamic vinegar. Next will be a risotto in saffron sauce and a penne pasta with cilantro. White fish with pesto served with garlic mashed potatoes will be next, followed by a main course of rack of lamb with Italian sausage and homemade meatballs, served with grilled vegetables. Dessert will conclude the evening.

Cost is $65 per person, tax and tip included. Seating is limited to 30 people. Call 484-4376 for reservations. Giovanni's is located at 5227 Mission Oaks Blvd.

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