Best server (male): Chris Sutter, Old Venice
No matter how busy he gets, server Chris Sutter always has a smile on his face. Part of it comes from the fact that he walks to work each day. And it helps that Old Venice, the restaurant where he plies his trade, is so close to the Pacific Ocean that he can feel the salt air on his face when he waits on al fresco tables. But the real source of his grin, he says, is being able to make customers happy.
“It’s the ‘anything you want’ approach,” Sutter said.
If a customer is unsure about what to order, Sutter is happy to steer the person in the right direction. His favorite thing on the menu, both for himself and to recommend to customers, is Chef Andrew’s Salad, a mix of veggies with a dressing that blends the restaurant’s two culinary influences: Italian and Greek. But mostly he just asks questions, helping people realize what they really want to eat.
Some answers are easier to handle than others. The restaurant’s popular pizzas are served on trays that make for easy eating but occasionally cumbersome delivery. Sutter has it down to a science.
He has a good rapport with the restaurant’s regular customers, but also likes meeting tourists coming off the beach. The son of former Los Angeles Kings coach Darryl Sutter, he is at ease when professional basketball players and Hollywood actors periodically pop in. During lunch shifts, he will sometimes handle takeout orders from various local retailers.
When asked what he likes most about his job, Sutter became effusive.
“We’ve got the best food, the best customers, and they’re all coming in to see the best waiter,” Sutter joked.
Old Venice, 1001 Manhattan Ave. Manhattan Beach
Runner-Up: Jesus, Good Stuff
1617 S. Pacific Coast Hwy. #102, Redondo Beach. (310) 316-0262
131 W. Grand Ave. C., El Segundo. (310) 647-9997.