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Start Your Business Entrepreneurs

Small Business Snapshot: Restauration

Restauration's Chef Philip Pretty harvests produce that he will later cook and serve to patrons. / Credit: Restauration

Our Small Business Snapshot series features photos that represent, in just one image, what the small businesses we feature are all about. Dana Tanner, founder and co-owner of Restauration, explains how this image represents the business.

Restauration is a combination of two of our favorite words that are defining pillars of the Long Beach, California community: restaurant and restore. Situated in the vibrant and creative stretch on 4th Street dubbed Retro Row, our little eatery brings the Long Beach family together to pay tribute to the American culinary spirit while embracing modern fare, using locally sourced, seasonal ingredients, many of which we grow ourselves.

In high school I was a hostess at a local swanky restaurant in Scottsdale, Arizona. Over the years, I graduated from bussing to serving and then to management. I have always worked for locally-owned and operated establishments, including managing The Melting Pot, which I watched grow from a small operation into a large international franchise. I had dabbled in some retail management as well in my early 20s, but was always drawn back to restaurants.

While I learned a lot from managing groups like The Melting Pot and Mohawk Bend, I decided to take the knowledge I had gained and move on to further my development in operations and food in general. I began looking for a space for my own restaurant and stumbled upon a site in Long Beach. I immediately fell in love with the venue and took a leap of faith in opening Restauration, which is celebrating three years this month. A year into the process, we went through some staff changes and found Chef Philip Pretty, who has really taken the local, fresh food mantra to heart and now co-owns Restauration with me.

Our goal at Restauration is to provide the community with farm-to-table high-end cuisine at a reasonable price point. While many restaurants buy fresh produce from local farmers' markets, Chef Phil (photographed here) cooks a hearty portion of our menu with the produce we grow and harvest in our own farm plots, which is also located in urban Long Beach, just a few miles from Restauration.

This photo not only shows Chef Phil physically harvesting lettuce himself to be used on our menu later that night or the next day, but also gives diners an idea of how fresh all of our ingredients are and how dedicated we are to the quality – so much so that we want to watch it grow from seed to produce ourselves. Right now, Restauration plants and harvests 25 to 30 percent of its own produce. As we continue to grow our 1,000 square-foot farm space tended by Organic Harvest Gardens, we hope to grow this percentage as well!

Our biggest challenge is explaining to customers that because we are a dedicated farm-to-table restaurant, their favorite menu item may not always be available. We have a lot of regulars (and even not-so-regulars) who have favorites, like our Brussels sprouts. While diners may be able to order these veggies elsewhere in California anytime of the year, at Restauration, if it isn't Brussels sprout season we won't be serving them. This is because we want to only offer those items when they are at their freshest during their peak season.

We believe this dedication to sourcing locally and seasonally really makes everything on our menu taste its very best, as well as supports our community and presents the opportunity to introduce our guests to new foods that they may not have tried had their favorite menu item been available – which we love!

Edited for brevity and clarity by Nicole Fallon.