Growing up in San Francisco in the 70’s was like living through a string of movies. The Hippies and the anti-war movement, the gay movement, Angela Davis and the black panthers, Patty Hearst, the SLA, the Zodiac killer, the Chinese gangs and the assassination attempt on President Ford were all events that happened in my backyard so to speak. I remember working at my Dad’s restaurant downtown and the war protesters were running in to get away from the police and the tear gas, and the assassination attempt was just a couple of blocks away from where we were. I was 15 years old and the restaurant cashier on weekends, I bussed tables on occasion, (the waitresses hated me because I thought the money left on the tables were for me, I didn’t know!). The restaurant was in the lobby of a downtown hotel, so we would get large tour groups that required breakfast before their day tours. That’s when I began helping out in the kitchen. I was always comfortable in the kitchen from helping my Grandmother since I was little, so I took to cooking quite easily.
My family moved to Las Vegas in 1976 and my Dad got me a summer job flipping burgers at the Hilton Hotel pool. I have to say, that was probably one of the best jobs that I ever had! They moved me to room service after the pool closed; it was there that I cooked for the likes of the Osmonds, Red Foxx, Ann Margaret, and the King, Elvis. One time the room service Captain asked me to make Elvis a chopped steak with mashed potatoes and mushroom sauce, so the next day I asked him how Elvis had liked it. He answered: ‘You want to know what happened to your Chopped steak? Well, it’s on the wall, on the curtains, and on the ceiling.’ Apparently, Elvis never even tasted it; he just took the whole plate and threw it across the room. He was quite eccentric, that was right before he died. In late 1978, my Dad opened the Khan’s Mongolian Grill across the street from UNLV. It was a bit before it’s time as no one in Las Vegas knew what a Mongolian grill was. But we had a hopping bar (where I met my wife Inkyung) and I ran the restaurant as my Dad continued to work for the Hilton hotel. When he was transferred to Reno in 1982, we sold the business and I moved to Los Angeles and went back to school. I then took a different path and enjoyed a 28 year career as a computer analyst, but always regretting that I didn’t take over the restaurant as my Dad had asked.
In 2010, I started a new chapter in my life with the opening of Norm’s Eggs Café (Now Norm’s Diner). My goal was to provide a comfortable and friendly dinning environment that serves healthy and tasty meals that are wholesome, satisfying, and affordable. I enjoy cooking and making people happy. I can remember the happy times I had when everyone would gather at my Grandmothers for those big family dinners, with great food and great company. At Norm’s, I hope to bring that happy feeling to all of my customers. I hope to see you soon! God Bless.