An Interview with Gladys Collins of The Dinosaur Gallery

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If you haven’t been to The Dinosaur Gallery in Del Mar, you’re in for a real treat. This shop owned by Gladys Collins sells and showcases minerals, dinosaurs, shark teeth, artwork, and more!

The Dinosaur Gallery isn’t just a store- it’s an an eye opener and an educational experience. Collins says it’s a little bit like a museum- but as an added bonus, you can buy these incredible pieces and take them home with you.

We had the pleasure of talking with Gladys Collins about her fascinating store.

La Jolla Blue Book: This store is so unique. What made you want to get involved with The Dinosaur Gallery?

Gladys Collins: I liked the product. It’s like a museum type product, so it’s very interesting. It was one of the fossils that blew me away

LJBB:  Wow, which fossil?

GC: It was the Orthocera. It had lived 500 million years ago, and I found that fascinating.

LJBB: How do you collect your products that are in the store?

GC: Well, I meet the people who mine them at Tucson. Tucson has the best presentation of people who mine fossil and minerals from all over the world, and they come from all over the word to buy there, so Tucson has quite a show- it’s usually every February. We’re fortunate in that we can drive there and bring the things back in our car, whereas other people who come from all over the world have to ship them.

LJBB: Has film and television industry affected your business? I’d imagine that it’s sparked some interest.

GC: These things aren’t widely known, but I think they’re more widely known now because of the film industry. Movies like “Jurassic Park” have definitely sparked an interest.

I know Christine Capanelli who did models for “Jurassic Park.” We sold her models when they were through with them. She lives here, so she does many of the models for me now, like the T-Rex head and the Pterosaur flying dinosaur. She’s done many other things- her talents are quite diverse.

We’re fortunate in that little children really love dinosaurs because they do have some TV programs with them in them. Then when they get older, they sometimes really get into the digging and finding of it all.

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LJBB: What’s your favorite item that you sell ?

GC: I like the crystals, but it’s hard to pinpoint what would be my favorite. I hand pick everything. I hand pick every fossil and every piece of mineral I have in the store. I can’t say that I love one over the other.

LJBB:  It’s like your children picking your favorite child.

GC: Yeah, exactly. I have some wonderful fossils though. I have a full crab from Italy that’s 50 million years old, and I have stingray from the green river formation that is absolutely beautiful. I also have a piece of stomata light that is some of the oldest fossil. The piece I have goes back 2.7 billion years

LJBB:  Well you’re so smart and knowledgeable, going into your store is probably more like a science class.

GC:  It’s a little bit like a museum, but everything is for sale. That’s the beauty. If you go to a museum, you can’t buy the big fossils and minerals.

LJBB: Tell us a little about the jewelry you sell.

GC: I have the semi-precious jewelry. They’re nice pieces that you don’t necessarily find in other stores. I have little bracelets of nearly every mineral you can think of. People buy them for the metaphysical aspect. That’s now a big part of my business, as people have become interested in metaphysics. They tell me I have the best collection. I have pieces that are nice polished pieces- not just little tiny ones. They’re nice sized ones that they can hold in their hands, or carry in their pockets, or use to meditate with.

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LJBB: What’s your most favorite part about being located in Del Mar?

GC: Well it’s a tourist area, so I get people from all over the world. They come back year after year just to just visit the store and pick up new things.

LJBB: What a great gift to bring back home – it sure beats a keychain.

GC: Yeah, they like it. Del Mar does have quite a few other stores, but it’s not rampant with shops. One another thing I keep that is quite sought after are our coral and shells. It wasn’t part of the original store, but I put those in and people love them because we’re right off the ocean.

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LJBB: For folks have never been to the Dinosaur Gallery before, what’s one thing you think they should know before they come in?

GC: Not enough people realize that our earth is full of all these beautiful crystals- they think our earth is just made up of dirt. Come and experience some of the beautiful and amazing crystals that are found in our earth. It was an eye opener for me seeing that first fossil. It made me want to find more of these things, and it would really great if people just appreciated what’s in the earth.


8-395x600-1We would love to promote you or a friend’s San Diego business via our 80+ year established diverse local media brand:

Serving the San Diego area for over 80 years, Blue Book Media Group has been generating enormous amounts of revenue for local businesses in the La Jolla and Rancho Santa Fe areas, along with San Diego County businesses wanting to do business in these same areas thanks to their consistent advertising with our media brand. Our local La Jolla and Rancho Santa Fe Blue Books (annual community guides) are so revered and used by the long time area locals that they refer to our print and web resources as the Bible of La Jolla and Rancho Santa Fe.

We would like to offer our diverse annual print, web, app and social media marketing/advertising platform to your local business as a way to help you generate new clients and customers to increase your revenue. If you or someone you know would like to see a true increase in their business, customer base or sales, please reach out to us by phone at 858-459-7939. We look forward to sharing information on our successful established diverse advertising resources with you.

We are thankful to have so many local businesses who have been advertising with us successfully every year since the 1940’s. We would like to be able to bring you the same huge ROI we have brought other local businesses each year due to their advertising with us.

For more information on our nearly 500-page annual Blue Book community resources, our website, our app, or our social media platforms, please call 858-454-7939 today.

Some ad space opportunities are limited as so many businesses renew their same ad spots with us year after year. We hope to hear from you soon.

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An Interview with Richard Walker Jr. of Richard Walker’s Pancake House in La Jolla

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Richard Walker Sr. and Richard Walker Jr.

If you’re familiar with the San Diego area or Chicagoland, you probably know about Richard Walkers. Since 1948, the Walker name has become synonymous with quality family dining. Since then, the family has perfected its reputation for outstanding gourmet pancakes and breakfasts.

Their story begins when Victor and Everett Walker began opening snack shops in Evanston, IL. In 1960, they opened Walker Bros. Original Pancake House in Wilmette, IL.  In 1981, Ray Walker and Richard Walker Sr., sons of Victor, opened Walker Bros Original Pancake House in Glenview, IL.

Cut to 7 years later, when Richard Walker Sr. ventured out on his own and opened Richard Walker’s Pancake House in Schaumburg, IL.. Then in 1996, Richard Sr. opened a second location in Crystal Lake, IL.

In 2006, Richard Sr. made the wonderful decision to relocate to San Diego and open the third location in downtown San Diego, CA

In 2014, the San Diego area got even luckier when Richard Walker Jr. joined the family business and opened the fourth Richard Walker’s Pancake House in La Jolla, CA.

The Walker’s family history and business reputation is admirable, to say the least.

We had the distinct pleasure of talking with Richard Walker of Richard Walker’s Pancake House in La Jolla about his family and his business.

La Jolla Blue Book: I understand that Richard Walker’s Restaurant history goes back to 1948, nearly 70 years starting with your granddad. I took a brief look at your restaurant “family tree” history. Seems it all began with brothers Everett and Victor, then onto brothers Ray and Richard Sr. and then finally onto you, Richard Jr, is that correct?

Richard Walker: That’s correct. It all started with Snack Shops in Chicagoland. Shortly after, the Walker family got involved in serving the best breakfasts in the area. With the family name on 11 restaurants to date between Chicago and San Diego County, it’s been quite the road.

LJBB: There’s two Richard Walker’s Pancake Houses (RWPH) in Chicagoland and two in San Diego County. Have you found a difference between Chicago foodies and California foodies?

Richard Walker: In California, is it far easier to procure our produce, dairy and meats locally year-round. This is a commitment we have to our customers in Chicago but at times it’s impossible. In California, we’re proud to offer the overwhelming majority of products locally and sustainably. And people in California really appreciate that hallmark of our commitment to locally producing our cuisine. In decades past, customers knew our product was superior but local vendors were not the “thing” they are now. The Walker Family has been doing this for over half a century and will continue to operate this way as long as RWPH exists.

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Richard Walkers Pancake House La Jolla.

LJBB: I read that your father trained at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music in classical piano, but then detoured into the food service industry during his studies. That’s quite a transition! You pretty much did the same thing. You were with Ernst and Young for 12 years, then in 2014 you joined the family restaurant business and opened the La Jolla location. Did you always sense that you would eventually join the family business?

RW: Working for Ernst and Young (EY) all those years was an incredible experience. I traveled to 47 states and over 60 countries during that period. I worked in EY’s Advisory Practice (as opposed to Accounting and/or Tax). I had the opportunity to work with some of the best and brightest – not only my fellow management consultants, but also the clients we served. So many of the lessons I learned at EY have been applied to running a successful business here and now.

As far as a sense of ultimately being involved in the family business. . . I’d say that it was always in the back of my mind. My passion is for hard work, efficiency, human interaction, responsible procurement, customer service, and team building. Having the opportunity to serve the best breakfast in the world creates a perfect vehicle for me to live my passion.

LJBB: Your San Diego restaurants have been described as elegant, with the vibe of an upscale dinner house. Seeing how your father was a classical pianist, do you think there’s a possibility that we’ll ever be listening to classical music while dining at one of them?

RW: We solely play Classical and Baroque music overhead at the restaurant via satellite. You won’t hear the same track twice over the course of an entire week. You’d be surprised how many people really appreciate it! Even our staff has pep in their step when listening subconsciously to the soothing melodies.

LJBB: Tell us about the decor of Richard Walker’s.  I read where you talked about things like the stained glass in your La Jolla location, and I watched your dad talk about the elegant vibe at the downtown location. I also understand that there’s a Frank Lloyd Wright influence that goes back a long ways. Is that where idea for a distinctive type of a decor for the pancake house began?

RW: Both the Downtown and La Jolla locations are similarly decorated and efficiently laid out. Mahogany millwork and high ceilings fill both spaces and an abundance of booths cradle our guests. Mid-Century clean lines and the influence of Frank Lloyd Wright can easily be sensed. However, it’s the original hand-made stained glass masterpieces created by Architecture Magazine’s “Tiffany of this century,” Jeff Smith, which steal the show.   A lifelong Texan, Jeff has become a personal friend to both Sr. and Jr. He actually transports the installations nearly 2,000 miles and does the installations personally. At both locations, challenge yourself to find our iconic Rabbit scampering from one end of the restaurant to the other depicted in the stained glass.

Richard Walker's Pancake House stained glass windows.

Richard Walker’s Pancake House stained glass windows.

LJBB: There can certainly be some interesting dynamics when working with family members. What’s your experience been like working as father and son?

RW: I saved nearly every penny I made when I worked all those years for EY. I sold my Chicago condo and plowed everything I had into the La Jolla location. As a result, I own 100% of the location and all the good and bad that come with it. Richard Sr. owns 100% of his locations. This has kept Father and Son in a great place emotionally. We help each other because we want to. We want to see the other succeed. Sometimes our ideas work, sometimes they don’t. Financial shortcomings and windfalls are all a result of the decisions we ultimately make for ourselves. As a result, our relationship only strengthens with every passing day.

LJBB: What’s the strongest attribute you bring to the table or team?

RW: I think that my staff is happier when I’m around. I am physically present at the La Jolla location about 350 days per year. And every time I’m away for a day or two, I get back to a greater sense of calm when I’m there throughout the staff. And to have your staff appreciate you like that is not an easy culture to establish. The staff knows that everything will be better if the boss is around. I also know exactly what I don’t know. And the staff knows how crucial and how appreciated they truly are.

LJBB: Richard Walker’s has been honored and awarded with some impressive titles, including best breakfast, best new restaurant, best omelette, best coffee, the pinnacle of pancakes, and more! Out of all of these, which one are you the most proud of?

RW: Since opening in La Jolla, we have won the La Jolla Village News “Best Breakfast” and Best Omelette” award every year, along with “Best New Restaurant” the year we opened. However, the crown jewel of RWPH was winning the USA Today’s 5 Best award several years ago. This puts you on the map on a national (an even global) scale.

Richard Walker's Pancake House Strawberry Waffle.

Richard Walker’s Pancake House Strawberry Waffle.

LJBB: What’s your personal favorite item on the menu?

RW: That’s an easy one: Egg White Vegetarian Omelette, add Spinach, Ham and no Cheese. You won’t believe how flavorful this can be! The dish is packed with protein and veggies while being almost void of fat. And for a special change of pace, I love our in-house ground Corned Beef Hash with Scrambled Egg Whites. With a group, you MUST order and Apple Pancake for the table.

Richard Walker's Apple Pancake

Richard Walker’s Pancake House Apple Pancake.

LJBB: What sets Richard Walker’s apart from other pancake houses?

RW: Our diverse menu, local procurement, cleanliness, beautiful decor, happy employee culture – and the feeling that you’re in a classy operation. This is not a snack shop, not a diner, not a café. We’re elegant without being stuffy.

Richard Walker's Pancake House raspberry crepes.

Richard Walker’s Pancake House raspberry crepes.

LJBB: What’s the best part of having a restaurant located in La Jolla?

RW: The best part of being located in La Jolla is the unique opportunity a business owner has to immediately serve the community. I was elected to the La Jolla Merchants Board and served for 2 years between 2014-2016. I also volunteered my time on the Traffic and Transportation Board and assisted with establishing the La Jolla Maintenance Assessment District (MAD). Those efforts quickly bear fruit in a community like La Jolla. The second best part of being located in La Jolla is the general public that our beautiful village contains. They know what good looks like and appreciate all the great things we’re trying to do to earn and keep their business.

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Richard Walkers Pancake House in La Jolla.

LJBB: Before people enjoy a dining experience at Richard Walker’s Pancake House, is there anything particular that you wish you could tell them?

RW: Order an oven baked pancake or oven baked omelette. You’ll be enjoying something you can’t get anywhere else.

Richard Walker's Pancake House Omelette.

Richard Walker’s Pancake House Omelette.

LJBB: The restaurant business is not easy, but you and your family seem to have found a way to make it seem fun and easy. What’s your secret? What piece of advice would you like to give to budding restaurant owners?

RW: First, YES, the restaurant business is not easy! However, if you do everything right by your staff, you will ultimately do right by your customers – and ultimately be successful. And to do right by your staff, you need to give them everything they need. The definition of “everything they need” is always changing and it’s your job to know what that definition is every single day. Work hard, be patient, be supportive and follow through on what you say you will do.


8-395x600-1We would love to promote you or a friend’s San Diego business via our 80+ year established diverse local media brand:

Serving the San Diego area for over 80 years, Blue Book Media Group has been generating enormous amounts of revenue for local businesses in the La Jolla and Rancho Santa Fe areas, along with San Diego County businesses wanting to do business in these same areas thanks to their consistent advertising with our media brand. Our local La Jolla and Rancho Santa Fe Blue Books (annual community guides) are so revered and used by the long time area locals that they refer to our print and web resources as the Bible of La Jolla and Rancho Santa Fe.

We would like to offer our diverse annual print, web, app and social media marketing/advertising platform to your local business as a way to help you generate new clients and customers to increase your revenue. If you or someone you know would like to see a true increase in their business, customer base or sales, please reach out to us by phone at 858-459-7939. We look forward to sharing information on our successful established diverse advertising resources with you.

We are thankful to have so many local businesses who have been advertising with us successfully every year since the 1940’s. We would like to be able to bring you the same huge ROI we have brought other local businesses each year due to their advertising with us.

For more information on our nearly 500-page annual Blue Book community resources, our website, our app, or our social media platforms, please call 858-454-7939 today.

Some ad space opportunities are limited as so many businesses renew their same ad spots with us year after year. We hope to hear from you soon.

858-454-7939
www.lajollabluebook.com
“Find It La Jolla” App

Facebook
Twitter
Instagram
LinkedIn
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What’s happening in La Jolla & San Diego October 7 & 8

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Ideal weather during the day and cozy nights make for an opportune times to get out of la casa and make the most of San Diego area events. There’s plenty of family friendly events this weekend to enjoy.

35th Annual Carlsbad Oktoberfest

Saturday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., Holiday Park

Are you ready for the longest running Oktoberfest in San Diego county? Great! The 35th Annual Oktoberfest kicks off Saturday at noon and runs until 10 p.m. in stunning Holiday Park! The Carlsbad Rotary Clubs invite one and all to join them for Carlsbad’s foremost tradition with your closest pals, BFF’s, family, and especially your kids and neighbors for an exciting day of food, fun, beer, costume competitions, and of course, music! There will be plenty to do for the kiddos and adults alike. The event features new costume contests, music, arts & crafts, various games, rides, and of course – awesome bonding with family and friends! There will be entertainment, dancing, and fun Kinder Korner activities for kids of all ages. Be sure to check out the photo booth, jump houses, and a fun pumpkin patch where the kids get an opportunity to bedeck pumpkins. The kids will thrill at performances by Ranger Jack (a one man band and puppeteer) and considerably more. For the big kid in all of us, chill out with fine craft and domestic beers all courtesy of Budweiser/Markstein to pair with your delectable food! Admission is $15 and includes a meal. Please note this is a strict no pets festival. The event is located at 3400 Pio Pico Drive in Carlsbad.

La Jolla Art & Wine Festival

Saturday, 10 a.m. – 7 p.m. & Sunday, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. La Jolla

Art and wine! Can you think of anything better for lovers of both? The La Jolla Art & Wine Festival is your go to destination for artists, breweries, and wineries and aficionados of all to showcase their craft and make merry art along the ever scenic Pacific Ocean. The two-day art show presents more than 150 artists from San Diego, Los Angeles, Orange County, Baja, and beyond. In addition, there will be roaming entertainment, a family art center, a gourmet marketplace, live music from the Sea Monks, Stone Horse, Jazz Pigs, Jimmy & Enrique & Earl Vaults, and several more! Of course, a wine and beer garden with sips from wineries and San Diego’s breweries is on hand. Convinced? We are! Admission is free and all proceeds benefit La Jolla area school art programs. The event is located at Girard Avenue between Torrey Pines Road and Prospect Street, in awesome, ever inviting and friendly La Jolla.

Maker Faire 2017

Saturday & Sunday, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. Balboa Park

The Maker Faire is truly a unique and fun event. What’s in store for you, family, friends and other loved ones? How about a full two days, with 7 participating venues, two outdoor zones, robots, drones, soldering, beer, awesome food trucks, music, crafting, and that’s only the beginning! With so much to do, see, hear and create, participants can certainly make the most of Maker Faire San Diego 2017. Each participating venue will provide various and definitely fun, and amazing makers. And guess what? All ticket holders will have general admission to all participating museums! Outdoor areas include the Plaza de Panama and the Bea Evenson Fountain. However, the vast majority of the event will be inside the venues this year. Why not visit them all? There will be plenty to feast the eyes and palate on as over 200 makers will be in attendance, so make it a point to get out to the Maker Faire San Diego 2017! Tickets are $30 ages 13 and above in advance, kids 3-12 are $18. Tickets at the gate are $38, and kids 3-12 are $23. Click the link for plenty of more information. See you there!

Taste of The Village

Sunday, 2 p.m. to 6 p.m., La Jolla

Take your taste buds on a tour and give back to your community with Taste of The Village! Hosted by The Village at Pacific Highlands Ranch in the heart of Carmel Valley, this one-night event helps you find your inner foodie while supporting a local public school. On Sunday, October 8th, The Village is bringing the tasting to you with a selection of food favorites from participating tenants with the Taste of The Village, with 100% of the proceeds going to Canyon Crest Academy public school!

This Sunday hop in your ride or walk through scenic La Jolla and join in a true family-friendly event hosted by The Village benefitting Canyon Crest Academy. Grab a taste of all that The Village has to offer, including a selection of quality foods from Baked Bear, Westroot Tavern, Fresh Brothers, Nothing Bundt Cake, Vitality Tap, Dolce, Breakfast Republic, and Luna Grill. Activities include an art display and performances by students from Canyon Crest Academy, who will directly benefit from the 100% of the event proceeds. The happening takes place at the various restaurants, patios, and open pedestrian plazas at the ever appealing and expansive Village at Pacific Highlands Ranch. You can expect the Taste of the Village to deliver a fantastic evening replete with unbridled fun, festivities, and food for friends and families. Come on out and join The Village in supporting Canyon Crest Academy and celebrating these awesome foodie finds for an unforgettable evening! Tickets are only $25. The event is situated in the roomy area at 13490 Pacific Highlands Ranch Parkway.