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May 05, 1994|LEO SMITH

Here's one of those all's-right-with-the-world, local-boy-makes-good stories. The local boy in question is Ventura-born Jake Grigsby, 22, who last month was hired as head chef at Quincy Street Ltd. in Oxnard.

If you think that being a chef at age 22 is impressive, try 16. "At 16, I was chef at the Chart House (in Ventura)," Grigsby said. "I was hired as assistant chef, but within about a month, all the chefs retired or moved on, so I moved up the ladder quickly."

Grigsby has also served as chef at Ventura's Pierpont Inn, the Mammoth Mountain Resort in Mammoth and at Zelda's in Capitola. He received much of his culinary education at Oxnard College and, prior to that, took several years of cooking at Ventura High School.

So was food preparation something that he was exposed to as a child? "Actually, it was just the opposite," he said. "No one in the family really cooked. I had to eat, so I got into cooking a lot."

Grigsby said his specialty is French cuisine, but he's eager to concentrate on the Italian fare and ribs for which Quincy Street is known. He said the restaurant's menu is pretty much set during the week, but look for some of his own fish and pasta dishes on the weekends. The restaurant is near Silver Strand Beach, at 2405 Roosevelt Blvd.

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We've all heard of childhood friendships that evolve into marital partnerships. Well, in Moorpark, there's at least one childhood friendship that has resulted in a coffeehouse partnership.

Friday will mark the five-month birthday of BJ's Cafe (Gourmet Coffee House), co-owned by Fred Jaraha and Ron Bolourian. The two grew up together, went their separate ways and reunited for the venture.

BJ's specializes in coffee--about 30 types are available daily. The place also has cakes, scones, bagels, salads and sandwiches. But don't expect to find food being cooked on-site.

"The smell of the sandwiches would interfere with the aroma of the coffee," Jaraha said. "Usually after lunch, we get everything cleaned and leave only the smell of the cake with the coffee aroma."

Bolourian said there will probably be additions to the cafe."We're planning to bring some ice creams in," he said, "and as far as entertainment, we may bring in a guitar player and try other different things." BJ's is in Gateway Plaza at 484 E. Los Angeles Ave., Suite 102.

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