In a world where consumers go to great lengths for convenience and are willing to pay for it, we many times forget the businesses and employees of those businesses that serve us to make our experience not only convenient, but also memorable. It is many times easy to punch in and punch out, but it is those that truly love their work and are committed to providing an exceptional experience to their customers that many times get forgotten in the experience. But it is them that complete the experience because no matter how amazing the meal is, without exceptional service it is not the same.

At the same time I have been known to frequent a restaurant that may not be as good tasting as the restaurant down the street, but the experience and the way I am treated keeps me coming back over and over again.


Recently, I was observing while dining out at one of my favorite restaurants, Chubby’s Diner in Scotts Valley, the waitressing staff running up and down pouring coffee, making sure people’s soft drinks did not go empty and the continued quest to make sure each customer had a smile on their face. We frequent that place often and sure enough there was our favorite waitress who always has a smile no matter how hot it may be inside or outside and no matter how busy they are.

In our local area, the cost of everything is enormous. Housing, food, goods, gas, everything is at the high end of the spectrum, and it makes you appreciate the various positions that make everything go forward from the business owners, to the managers, the staff, the waitresses and waiters who are all there doing their job. Sadly and interestingly enough, we as a society are here to slam a business or service the moment we don’t get it as fast as we want something or as perfect as we think it needs to be.

So while my wife was out doing mommy time, I had my two little ones and took them to Chubby’s Diner and I observed Nicole just doing her thing, working up and down the aisles, taking orders, filling and refilling coffee, you know the drill. And I just appreciated her and everyone there so much and when she came to my table I said to her: “Nicole, you know what I am going to do? I am going to have a contest for the best waitress or waiter in town because it is about time you are all more appreciated.” And as we were talking and as I was speaking, I got to saying that we were going to award the winner an amazing trip for a massage at one of the best places you can go to in the area, Exhale. Day Spa.

But here is the funny thing, I had not even contacted Kim Pursley at Exhale., it was still a plan that was coming together as I was speaking it and yet I knew in my heart that she would be all for it because I know that she is in the service industry herself and I know how much she appreciates her employees. So as soon as I left Chubby’s I pitched her my plan and told her I would be happy to pay for two visits and if she would be interested in participating in this contest by adding more goodies to the service to honor and recognize all the awesome waitresses and waiters in town that serve us daily.

Of course she said yes, and so there you have it, our first “BEST OF” contest.

So we agreed to co-sponsor the contest and put out a post last weekend to get it going, and before you knew it there were over 100 nominations.


And now for the two winners, one in Scotts Valley and one in San Lorenzo Valley.


It is no surprise that the individual that inspired me to start this contest was also the winner in all Scotts Valley restaurants, Nicole Richardson at Chubby’s Diner. Nicole is just an amazing and dedicated employee who does her business well and represents her restaurant like no other. Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of amazing people that I run into every day like Luna at Rumblefish Sushi who are just the salt of the earth. I mean, my kids love Luna to the moon! And yes, Luna means moon in Spanish. But as tough as the competition was, I had to make a vote and not only was that my vote but also the top vote in Scotts Valley.

So congrats’ Nicole, well deserved!


In SLV, this is just as ironic to me to proudly announce the winner which is no other then Mario Desantis at Casa Nostra! I say this, because the very last time I was in Casa Nostra I was fortunate enough to be served by Mario and I have to tell you, the level of care and service that he provides was just mind blowing. I say that because the man is so attentive, making sure you have water, bread to dip in the balsamic and vinegar, and kept coming back asking me with that Italian accent if I was doing ok. Mario has service down to a science!

So when I was counting the votes and I went to look him up to see who he was, sure enough he was the gentleman who provided such an exceptional experience at Casa Nostra. Funny how things come together!

So congrats to those two winners, they have a a wonderful spa treatment coming from Exhale., believe me. That place is incredible! If you have a moment, watch the video above that I was fortunate enough to do with them last year.

The two winners will be getting an amazing and probably much needed massage treatment at Exhale Day Spa here in Scotts Valley comprising of:

• A 60 minute CBD Massage with Hot Stones
• A 30 minute Foot Massage and Scrub


But also congrats top the following people who are more than worthy of recognition:

SCOTTS VALLEY – Jack at Malone’s was runner-up and Luna at Rumblefish was also a favorite. Other honorable mentions include Heavenly Roadside Cafe, Avenue Cafe, and a local fav – Walter at Kao Sook. It was also great to get some wonderful reviews and shout-outs for the Scotts Valley McDonalds who really have some wonderful and hard working people there taking care of all of us.

SLV – Joanne Robertson at Spanky’s Cafe who was runner-up in SLV with Tony Ardino of Casa Nostra coming in 3rd, a tight race for sure. Other honorable mentions include Mariah Haro at Cowboy Diner, Rocky’s, Empire Grill and Sushi San.

And from the commUNITY in Scotts Valley and SLV, thank you to all the amazing staff and employees that serve us, take care of us and go out of their way to make it a wonderful experience.

Does each business give perfect service every single time? That is impossible and we should never expect that, for none of us are perfect. But it is the businesses that step-up and make it right if something is not 100% and that is all you can ask.

We are fortunate to have so many wonderful and local businesses and workers in the area that care and are proud of their business, and show it every day.

Cheers and congrats’ once again!

Robert Aldana
Publisher & Contributor

ABOUT ROB: Robert is the publisher of the My Scotts Valley Facebook page and He is a 23+ year resident of Scotts Valley and 33+ year licensed real estate veteran with Keller Williams Realty. In 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2018 Robert was the agent chosen by more Scotts Valley area home sellers and buyers than any agent or team, and Robert was recently awarded the Santa Cruz Sentinel Readers Choice Award as the Best REALTOR® in Scotts Valley for 2016, 2017 and again in 2018. Robert also holds the distinction of being the all-time leading agent in real estate sales for Scotts Valley.


Robert was also voted 2017 Favorite Neighborhood Real Estate Agent in Scotts Valley in the first NextDoor Fav Business Awards by local residents and is also the most recommended local real estate agent in NextDoor.

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