Fine dining can be an uplifting experience, but few things are more noble than serving a good breakfast. Ciro Amato knows this. He started working in his parents’ restaurant at age 12, and was in charge of a kitchen by the time he was 20. In 1999 he purchased Goldies Restaurant and plunged into the world of all-day breakfast and specialty lunch items. His formula is simple: “Great food for everyday people.”
“We have dishes on our menu that customers might pay $30 or $40 for downtown, and they can get them here for $10,” he says. Every Wednesday is Italian day, with rotating items such as veal marsala, chicken Française, and rigatoni alla vodka. Even so, the backbone of the menu is comfort food: eggs benedict, country fried steak, and what Amato calls the ultimate breakfast for two (four eggs, pancakes or French toast, bacon, sausage, potatoes, biscuits, and gravy).
Consistency is his watchword. “We have set recipes that we follow religiously, because we want our food to taste the same tomorrow as it does today.” The other key is service. “Our servers know the customers and what they eat and drink. Some have been here nearly 20 years, and the average is 9 or 10.”
Amato’s also invested in the community. Goldies regularly donates to charities such as Healthy Start Coalition and Drug Free Collier, and first responders are fed at half-price. He has a long-standing tradition of giving away two meals each day at random. “Customers are frequently confused why they’re receiving a free meal, since they haven’t complained about anything. We just tell them to pay it forward.”