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Grainger Everyday Heroes: Restaurant Manager


Meet Restaurant Manager Mark Ballos of Dockside Dave’s in Madeira Beach, Florida. Mark took his first job at a local bar when he was 12 years old and has been in hospitality ever since. Currently, he's keeping Dockside Dave's humming with fresh fish and good service.

We're kind of like a small dysfunctional family. We play hard. We work hard, and we all do it all together. I've been here 8 years and I'm still one of the new guys. My name is Mark Ballos and I'm one of the managers at Dockside Dave's. It is a small family run business.

We specialize in fresh fish. We don't advertise. We [have locals that come in and use] word of mouth. We've been [open for] about 31 years. I usually work anywhere from six to eight hours per day depending on [whether or not it's high] season here in Florida. There are weeks where I'll work 90 hours, and there are weeks where I'll work 18, it just depends on the tourist [season]. [I have a] pretty normal routine for any restaurant. [I have to] wipe down tables, stock beer, get ice and make sure there's brewed ice tea. It's just basic setup of the restaurant.

We use fresh scallops, fresh fish, we even have great burgers and great chicken. Everything we do here is homemade, handmade and hand, nothing comes in processed, it's all fresh. We use several local purveyors. We used to buy [the fish] right from the boats but not being on the water anymore made it hard for them to pull up and sell us fish. We use a few local guys, [and we are] constantly [telling] them to give us the freshest, best product that they possibly can. If they can't, we move on to the next [pureyors]. [When you] buy local you know you're getting a quality product, you know [the person] who gave you the product and you know who to [contact] if the product's not right.

I've always been in the hospitality industry. When I was twelve, I started working summers and weekends at a little neighborhood bar. [It is] something I have always enjoyed [doing]. I like the hours. I like that if I want a day off, I just find someone to cover my shift, [then I'm going to] go play at the beach. The people [here] are great. You can't ask for much more [than that].

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