Bill, Vicki and Clay Porter have been the owner-operators of “Garden Center Café & Grill” for the past fifteen years. Their passion for food and friends are distinct features of Fallbrook’s finest Restaurant. There is a sign over the entry door saying, “Enter as Strangers, Leave as Friends.” Having lived in Fallbrook for 26 years, many of their guests are long time friends.
What makes it even more unique, the Garden Center Cafe & Grill is a gathering place for fellow Fallbrookians. At times it is a bit challenging to be seated because of the groups of friends mingling and chatting from the postman to the preacher. Yet, even the hostess remains grateful for the friendly atmosphere. Their staff is a vital part of the warm environment. Several employees have been part of the restaurant since the beginning and many of the guests consider them truly part of their family. (As they say, “Only in Fallbrook”)
Their son Clayton has been an integral part of the restaurant throughout the fifteen years. He was recently promoted to General Manager as the family has acquired another Fallbrook restaurant, "El Jardin." Clay's enthusiasm and passion for the restaurant, along with his education in the business since he was quite young, is a definite asset to the cafe. Clay's wife, Carina, is working hand and hand with Vicki in the catering business. Clay and Carina gave birth to their daughter in 2011 and to their son in 2014. Bill and Vicki have another son, Jon, who moved from Arizona 3 years ago to manage the new restaurant "El Jardin." They also have a daughter in Arizona, as well as four grandsons and two granddaughters..
Bill’s extensive restaurant experience, starting 46 years ago, has brought him full circle in the restaurant business. Working for a large chain, starting as a waiter while in college, he took pride in the demands and challenges of the business, while enjoying the social aspect as well. Working within the same restaurant chain for 25 years, equipped him with knowledge on all levels of the business. It took him from San Diego to Arizona 36 years ago where he met and married the love of his life. He continued in the restaurant business yet always longing to have his own. In 1984 Bill and Vicki purchased a building in Tempe Arizona and transformed it into a fresh seafood restaurant complete with exhibition cooking.
Vicki is the creative part of their team. She is always searching for new recipes with an artistic flair. She enjoys personalizing her catering menu and creating new designs for her displays. Sunday is her favorite day of the week because after church all of their friends stop by the restaurant for a delicious brunch and a visit.
They consider themselves blessed to continue their passion for the restaurant business here in Fallbrook. They love the community and the people. God willing, they can live and work in paradise forever.