Tonight I had the honor of visiting Vincent’s pandemic response for documentary photography in San Diego. They’ve adapted their normal fine-dining business operations to be able to operate during the pandemic. They’ve even opened another more casual business just to be able to provide their food at a more budget-friendly price!
Normally a business that thrives on its in-person fine dining experience, Vincent’s has had to change their entire business model within 48 hours to be able to operate. They started The Flying Toad as an extension of Vincent’s. It’s a more casual vibe with a smaller price point. The team quickly changed to an alley pickup, and the sous chef doing delivery orders. No customers are allowed inside the restaurant since safety is the top priority.
I was excited to work with this restaurant because they had a pretty amazing story, even before the pandemic hit. Ashly, the executive chef’s sister wrote to me:
“It has been a rollercoaster of a ride, let’s start there. I am the marketing director of the family owned restaurant Vincent’s on Grand and now the newly launched The Flying Toad in Escondido. My brother is the Executive Chef and where his career started many years ago at the age of 15. Chef Brandon Hunsaker traveled the country only to return to this beloved restaurant where his mentor was the executive chef and owner until he, Vincent, passed. My brother took over the reigns and when the restaurant went up for sale last year we all held our breath. Thankfully great friends, who have quickly become family, acquired the restaurant and have kept this landmark alive on historic Grand Ave. in Escondido. Jeannette McBrearty had only owned Vincent’s months before COVID-19 hit.”
The love and passion is strong in this place. It’s been around for over 20 years and the team is doing everything in their power to keep it going strong. There is only Brandon and the sous chef making all of the orders in the kitchen. Brandon is even working as a VOLUNTEER right now without pay just so the restaurant can keep its doors open. That is LOVE.
Thanks for having me!
Vincent’s in San Diego during COVID19 – operating with resilience, passion and love.