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San Diego
Thursday, May 23, 2024

Executive Profile , Jason Dean

Jason Dean could have coasted on more than a decade of experience in the restaurant industry, but after training employees for T.G.I. Friday’s and his most recent role managing The Prado at Balboa Park restaurant he decided it was time to run his own restaurant.

Caf & #233; One Three was inspired by his love of Southern and European food culture, and sharing food was critical to its concept. The restaurant features an open kitchen and small group cooking classes.

“Creativity and flexibility are really critical in this industry,” says Dean. “I started the restaurant so I could customize the experience, one person, one plate at a time.”


Name: Jason Dean.

Company: Caf & #233; One Three.

Title: Owner.

Education: School of hard knocks.

Birthplace: Jackson, Tenn.

Age: 35.

Current residence: University Towne Center in San Diego.


Essential business philosophy: Surround myself with people who know more and have more than I do.

Best way to keep a competitive edge: Constantly reinventing myself, my mentality and way of thinking.

Guiding principle: Listen to your heart, it never misleads you.

Yardsticks of success: Do as much as you can possibly do, and remember to breathe.

Goals yet to be achieved: Family and kids.


Best business decision: To accept my partner’s help in opening Caf & #233; One Three.

Worst business decision: Trying to do it all by myself.

Toughest business decision: Quitting my full-time job and steady income at Prado to pursue the Caf & #233; full time.

Biggest missed opportunity: Passing on a full scholarship to Johnson & Wales University (in North Carolina).

Mentors: Rita Gallant, director of operations for Cohn Restaurant Group, and Carlos Legaspy, my partner.

Word that describes you: Loyal.


What you like best about your job: Ever changing , no two days are ever the same.

What you like least about your job: Employee-related issues.

Pet peeve: Unauthentic behavior.

Most important lesson learned: To let “it” go , if it’s not my stuff.

Person most interested in meeting: Oprah Winfrey.

Three greatest passions: My own personal journey, my personal relationships, my business.

First choice for a new career: Stay-at-home dad.


Favorite quote: “Take time to understand what’s behind your success , It’s the best way to ensure it will continue.” , Stuart R. Levine.

Most influential book: “Six Fundamentals of Success: The Rules for Getting it Right for Yourself and Your Organization,” by Stuart R. Levine.

Favorite status symbol: My home.

Favorite restaurant: Mine, of course.

Favorite place for business meetings: The Prado restaurant.

Favorite vacation spot: I have three , Paris, Brussels and Mexico City.

Favorite way to spend time: With my partner, family, friends, a big bowl of homemade guacamole and margaritas.


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