Summing up Gale’s Restaurant in Pasadena
is easy: it is all about fine dining and fun. But most of all, Gale’s
is about family.
bustling bistro features the most comprehensive selection of Northern
Italian cuisine this side of Tuscany. But to owner Gale Kohl, her namesake
restaurant also represents a higher calling. It is a tribute, a memorial
and a reason to celebrate life each and every day.
“I have an
older brother Ira who passed away,” says Gale, “and he always
was and always will be an inspiration to me. I just loved him so much,
and he loved good food and a good time. I like to think that if I can
make my customers enjoy dining out as much as Ira used to, I will have
done a pretty good job.”
A 20-year veteran
of the industry, Gale previously ran the food service accounts for a host
of entertainment giants that included Walt Disney Imagineering, ABC and
CBS television, and the Gene Autry Museum. She also worked in Business
and Industry Accounts for Marriott hotels.
“I did it all,”
says Gale, “from running restaurants and commissaries to catering,
but my dream was always to open my own restaurant.”
She had plenty of
supporters of that dream. Gale’s Restaurant truly is a family affair,
and has been from the very beginning.
and partner in life, Rene Chila, is part of the moving force of the restaurant.
He helps out when we are greeting and welcoming our customers in the evening,
not to mention everything he does with service, ” says Gale.
Terri Kohl, Gale’s
sister-in-law, also contributes to the restaurant on
a daily basis. “She has always been the person in our family who
follows through and makes sure that things are ‘taken care of,’”
Karyn has worked as a hostess and her nephew Matt designed much of the
restaurant’s web site.
Jerry, has helped with everything from creating the visuals of the restaurant
to developing the menu. “He pushed me to strive for the very best
and beyond,” she says.
Jerry, who owns Leegin
Creative Leather and Brighton Accessories, is a well-known stickler for
details, and nowhere is that more apparent than in the interior design
of Gale’s. The decor is a striking combination of modern elegance
and Old World
charm, and has a number of special “Brighton” touches.
The walls are brocaded
with genuine artwork stretching from the floor to the ceiling. Everything
from the marble tabletops to the crystal chandeliers to the dominating
bust of Michelangelo’s David standing sentry over the open kitchen
inspires visions of authentic Italy, and the resulting ambiance is truly
Gale’s is all
about great food, and what sends the eclectic collection of northern Italian
offerings sailing into the culinary stratosphere actually seems simple
to the owner.
“The one area
where we are totally committed and where we never compromise is using
really great ingredients that are as fresh as possible,” says Gale.
“We buy some of our produce from the farmers’ market and try
to pick up organic produce whenever it’s appropriate. We also are
always looking for purveyors that carry great quality and unusual product.”
The inspiration for
many of Gale’s house specialties comes from produce that is in-season,
and only the freshest products are used in the preparation of meat and
seafood dishes as well. Some of Gale’s specials include lamb chops
from New Zealand – made unique because they are fresh, not frozen
- monk fish with saffron mussel risotto, - and a wide variety of salmon
prepared in different
and delicious ways. All are guaranteed to please even the most sophisticated
doesn’t disappoint when it comes to down-home Italian American favorites,
either. Choose from lasagna or spaghetti with meatballs, and of course,
made-to-order pizzas. The best one-word review for Gale’s pizza
is that it is “awesome.”
Finally – and
fortunately -- at Gale’s, it isn’t over until it’s over,
and that means sampling several of Gale’s pastry creations for dessert.
Though divinely inspired, they are sinfully sumptuous, and you may have
a harder time choosing than you did selecting your entree an hour earlier.
visit Gale’s. It is the realization of a dream. It is a tribute
to families, past and present. It is a joyous celebration of fine food
and good times. And it is fun!
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