Three servers each celebrating 50 years at storied Los Angeles restaurant Taix

March 8, 2012 8:51 am
  • Bartender Fernando Gomez, right, and servers Jose Fragoso and Bernard Inchauspe, left, have worked for decades at the French restaurant Taix in Los Angeles, California's Echo Park neighborhood.
    Bartender Fernando Gomez, right, and servers Jose Fragoso and Bernard Inchauspe, left, have worked for decades at the French restaurant Taix in Los Angeles, California's Echo Park neighborhood.
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LOS ANGELES -- With its dim warren of dining rooms and hearty menu of ratatouille, filet mignon and duck, Taix feels more Old World than Echo Park.

The tables are stretched with white linen, and the soup is served family style, from a big bowl with a ladle. In the main dining room with its gold-plated mirrors, Edith Piaf songs are hummed by a debonair waiter.

That's Bernard Inchauspe, a 77-year-old Basque Country emigre with a velvety accent who for half a century has greeted diners with: "Hello, lovely people!"

Mr. Inchauspe is one of three men who are this year celebrating 50 years of employment at Taix, the storied restaurant on Sunset Boulevard that was built to look like a French country villa.

The others are Jose Fragoso, who works private banquets, and Fernando Gomez, the bespectacled bartender who will pour you your favorite drink before you've even had a chance to order.

All three are serious about service, with an attention to detail that can at times seem almost somber. But they love the job, which Mr. Inchauspe says brings him both pride and pleasure. He and the others work a little less these days than they once did, but none has plans to retire.

Something about Taix keeps both waiters and patrons coming back.

Steve Cooley has been dining there since he was a boy. He and his family lived in nearby Silver Lake, and the restaurant was where they marked birthdays and other special occasions. In 1964, at age 16, he won a Lion's Club speech contest there with a talk titled "Maturity -- Its Privileges and Responsibilities."

Mr. Cooley, who grew up to become the Los Angeles County district attorney, is now 64. Some years he returns to judge the annual speech contest -- still held at Taix.

Weekdays at lunch, you might spot him there, or maybe Police Chief Charlie Beck, or Sheriff Lee Baca. The restaurant has long been popular with the law-and-order crowd, as well as employees from City Hall and clergy from the Catholic diocese downtown. Nobody comes to eat light -- not when there's lamb shank, frog legs and French onion soup to be had.


First Published 2012-03-07 23:29:05
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