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El Segundo - 02/28/13
Always delicious and healthy! Friendly staff and lots of yummy choices!

Hermosa Beach - 03/04/13
Keep the sun out, so I can skate on over for my delicious turkey salad!

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Prompt service, extensive menu, excellent food and service, great value for the dollar.

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A great go to place.

Blog

CRIS BENNETT HELPS LOCALS EAT ‘GOOD STUFF’

By Quinn Roberts**

When he opened up his first Good Stuff burger stand in West L.A. back in 1979, Cris Bennett never imagined it would become a South Bay institution. A fixture of the community with locations in Hermosa Beach, Redondo Beach, El Segundo and West L.A., Good Stuff restaurant keeps locals coming back for more with its affordable, healthy food in a fun, beach-themed atmosphere.
South Bay Digs caught up with Bennett at his Redondo Beach restaurant about how he got his start in the restaurant business, how Good Stuff has evolved over the years and just how much he still loves his job.
Cris Bennett 2 Good Stuff Restaurant
How did you get involved in the restaurant business?
I grew up in Woodland Hills, and I really wanted to buy a car when I turned 16. I convinced my parents to ask this Mexican restaurant in our neighborhood if I could bus tables one night a week and I immediately fell in love with it. I fell in love with the vibe, the business, the fact that each Saturday was a little different. I thought I was going to be a dentist and then I decided to be in the restaurant business.
I worked in restaurants throughout college and then in Beverly Hills after I graduated. After that restaurant was sold, I got transferred down to the South Bay and started working at the Criterion. After that, things fell into place and I opened my first restaurant in 1979. I found a tiny shack of a burger stand in West L.A. and turned itinto Good Stuff.
How did you come up with the name ‘Good Stuff’?
We ran through a bunch of names and stumbled upon the name after Good Stuff Bakery. We thought that would make a great name for a restaurant, so we asked the bakery owner if we could use the name and he said yes. So, we got the name, trademarked it, and have had the name ever since.
Why has Good Stuff been such a ‘good’ fit for the South Bay?
We have been really involved in the community, which has helped us a lot. Supporting local charities, functions, sports teams and schools, I think that has helped blend us into the fabric of the community. People really support people that really support the community.
How is Good Stuff involved in the community?
We do a lot of things to support the local schools through athletics and academics, including scholarships and work and mentoring programs. I also take part at career days at different schools in the area, so the kids get a sense of what the restaurant business is like. We have a list of people that we help, but I usually like to go out and do it myself if I can, to really be the face of the restaurant.
Is it important for you to consistently be at the different restaurant locations?
I never wanted to get so big where I couldn’t be at the restaurants. I didn’t want to be in some office somewhere negotiating prices for hamburger patties. I really wanted to stay involved so everyone knows who I am. I try to have a relationship with the 150 people on our team.
How much do you enjoy what you do and how much have your 16-year-old expectations been fulfilled?
I’ve had long 13-hour days, others where I’ve come home and cried on the kitchen floor, but it isn’t like that anymore. I love what I do. It wasn’t easy in the beginning, working weekends and late nights. Now luckily, I’m home by 5p.m. and try to have most weekends off.
How has the restaurant evolved since you first opened?
We have always had the mentality to be on the healthier side and to try to make sure that we are serving as healthy a product as we can. We want people to have that option, but also have people be able to get a burger and fries. We are sort of a California coffee shop. It works really well, especially bythe beach.
How did you come up with the menu for Good Stuff and what are some of the most popular menu items?
A lot of the recipes I have come up with myself. I’ll think of the idea or we’ll be using products that can be used in multiple ways. One of the menu items that evolved that way was the ground turkey, grilled veggie and brown rice tostada, which is extremely popular. Cris’ breakfast salad was my idea, which sort of has a cult following and is a favorite of people. The zucchini parmesan has also been on since day one. It is probably our key item. It is what we are known for. We make it fresh every day.
I’ll also give my cooks a lot of freedom with the specials board, where we’ll test out different items, like the chicken lime soup. Some of them sell well and others not as much. The worst thing you can do is have to throw things away.
What are some of the craziest stories from the restaurants?
I had a friend who was an actor and screenwriter who once called me up in Hermosa asking if I was at the restaurant. He wanted to make sure that I would be there if he brought a few guys down and that it wasn’t very crowded. It was a nice day and he brought John Travolta and Nicolas Cage down (and this is when they were pretty young). They came in, had lunch right by the window and then walked out on the strand after. It was really classic.
One time a movie called Men at Work with Emilio Estevez and Charlie Sheen filmed a scene at the Hermosa restaurant in which they had breakfast. I couldn’t believe a movie was filmed there. That was really fun. Janet Jackson also would come into the restaurant in Redondo Beach and sit in the corner with a Good Stuff sweatshirt and a few bodyguards. She always kept to herself, but was always nice to the servers the more she came in.
Have your goals for what you wanted Good Stuff to be been fulfilled?
If you would have asked me 35 years ago what kind of restaurant I would have owned, I had no idea. I just knew that I wanted to be in the restaurant business and open a restaurant. I think it really was decided early when I got a job at the Criterion. It was very similar to the restaurant I am running now.
I was such a valley boy and would occasionally go to Malibu, but coming down here, I realized that I was in heaven. The first day I went down to Manhattan Beach, I wore a Hawaiian shirt to fit in, thinking I was so cool. I came down here and thought it was paradise.
I’ve had people talk to me about opening more restaurants across the country, but I just want to enjoy my life here in this community and the restaurants we do own. I have four restaurants, they do well. I’m able to spend time with my kids, play golf andgo on vacation. I really love coming to work and getting that instant gratification from customers when they enjoy a meal.
** reposted from http://www.southbaydigs.com/good-stuff-restaurant/

GS kids menu logo

 

Hi Everyone,

 

We hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving and are happily enjoying the weeks before the Winter Holidays.

 

Just in time for the Holidays, Good Stuff has made a few changes to the Kids Menu that we’d like to share.  We have some great new Healthy Options.

 

We still have our favorite Mickey Pancakes & Junior Good Stuff Breakfast, along with French Toast and other tasty breakfast meals.

 

And we have added a My Fitness Breakfast!

This breakfast is served with 2 egg whites, fresh fruit and whole wheat toast, along with a choice of juice or milk.

It’s a healthy choice with lots of protein and energy rich fruit to give your growing youngsters the nutrition they need!

 

For Lunch and Dinner our menu will continue to serve our creamy Macaroni and Cheese, All Natural Chicken Tenders, Chicken Caesar Salad and much more.

 

In our El Segundo and Redondo locations we still have our yummy Spaghetti and have added Chicken Breast, Rice, Broccoli, Roll & Milk, as a new Healthy Option.

 

For our kid’s lunch sides, along with Veggies, Applesauce or French Fries, we now have our home-made delicious Chicken Lime Soup, just in time for those colder winter months.

 

We hope you & your young ones enjoy!

See you soon!

 

~ Good Stuff

This is a great piece that CNN.com did for the Vitality City initiative that
is moving forward in Hermosa, Manhattan and Redondo. Good Stuff has a nice
clip explaining our involvement. Check it out, it’s interesting.

Check out the article on us and Vitality City by Patch.
Live Longer, Better!

Well, it’s likely coming to you on some manner of cable or satellite instead of the airwaves… Good Stuff has a long history of amusing commercials, from our first skydiving into the Hermosa location to this new one, titled “Adventures in Babysitting” Enjoy!

Good Stuff | Adventures in Babysitting from Graham & Graham on Vimeo.

Join us on Thursdays from 5:30 – 8:30 for our famous $2 street tacos.

Choose from Chicken, Beef or Pork on fresh made corn tortillas with all the trimmings!

Ride your bike, skate, run, walk, carpool….just get here!

Starting on Thursday June 23rd!

It’s funny, roughly 11 years ago, I was doing some work for the guys who run AWN Networks, where the Good Stuff site has always been hosted. They had contacted me to see if I could help Cris get his newsletter out the door and I happily obliged. Little did I know that all these years later, I am still helping Cris get his newsletters out to customers (who LOVE them for the coupon that comes with every one!) and this is likely the fifth time over the years in which I have completely redone the Good Stuff website. Each time we add a little more, change things around, get some new pictures up and do a general tidy up. But this time, we’re going to go a little further and reach out a little further. For those of you who follow either Twitter or Facebook, you can also find us there :

Follow us on Twitter!

Check us out on Twitter where we’ll be posting specials and news regarding all of our locations.

Follow us on Facebook!

With Facebook, you will also find special deals, contests and a variety of pictures from our various restaurants.

And also, keep checking back here to the Blog as well! All three separate places will likely contain different specials, different coupon discounts and different events, so it’ll be worthwhile to keep track of all three! As always, we appreciate you visiting the site and our restaurants and we look forward to the next time we can make you some GOOD STUFF!

David Hathaway, webgeek for Good Stuff…