"I am very happy here," said owner and main chef Efrain Garcia. "The people are generous with suggestions. There's been a good response from the people. I look forward to getting to know more of them, and hopefully, they will get to know more of me. I learned that you have got to take care of people. I feel good when I treat people well.
"Most of the people like the pasta with meat sauce. But they are becoming adventurous and confident as I get them to try the veal scaloppini or the eggplant parmesan," Garcia said. "I try to keep the servings not too big so they are affordable."
Garcia brings 33 years of restaurant experience to Antioch.
"I have worked in the restaurant business all my life - well, since I was 13 years old. I started at the very bottom at Original Joe's in San Francisco, washing the dishes and mopping the floors," he said. "I learned to cook by observing at West Portal Joe's (Twin Peaks) and later on became their chef at the age of 16.
"When I returned to Original Joe's in 1991 I was made manager, but I tended to other duties like bookkeeping, hiring, bartending, and sometimes still washing dishes when there's no one to do it. You have to be flexible in this business."
Coming to Antioch with his wife and son for the laid-back pace and housing affordability, Garcia is pleasantly surprised and happy to be here.
"San Francisco can get tiring and noisy," he said. "The weather in Antioch just takes getting used to, though."
Garcia serves breakfast on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. Steak and eggs, bacon and eggs, or Leo's breakfast (bacon, Italian link sausages, ham, hamburger, eggs, hotcake, hash browns, toast, coffee, and orange juice) are popular morning choices.
If you prefer lunch, you might want to try the grilled ham and cheese ($4.95), a jumbo burger on French bread ($6.95) or Joe's Special (ground chuck sauteed with onions, spinach and eggs) for $7.95. The restaurant's lunch specials (with prices ranging from $7.95 to $13.95) include roasted turkey or pork loin, cannelloni Toscana, corned beef, mare and terra kebab, ham hocks, and lomo saltado (sauteed tips of steak).
"It's so nice to work here. The people are friendly," said Vida Diaz. Christina Rivas attests that the cheese ravioli is great. Guadalupe Figueroa likes the spaghetti and the turkey sandwich.
Antioch Joe's is located at 3100 Contra Loma Blvd., and is open from 10:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, and 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. For more information or catering, call 777-1237.