"The fact is, East Coast Grill has taken barbecue to a scientific level — without giving up the soul that makes soul food so soulful… ”
“'Bartending is one of the last professions that still has a mystique,' Singleton, who is widely known as 'Smiley' and has been at it for 19 years. A teetotaler himself, he describes his regulars as 'very sophisticated, interesting people, who are extremely knowledgeable about the world. I learn a lot from them, and they learn a lot from me. I’ve been known to give lectures from behind the bar.' In keeping with the restaurant’s Southern flavor, Singleton’s most common request is for Margaritas, but there isn’t a cocktail, no matter what you call it, that throws him. 'There are basically four, maybe five, drinks, and everything else is just a variation on the theme.
"How many tables did the Turtle have? Six? Seven tables, tops, plus the row of seats at the counter, because it used to be a diner. It was impossible not to make constant eye contact, impossible not to make conversation. Officially the smoke had cleared, outwardly there was peace in the valley, but nobody had bargained on dinner-for-four."
"[It was a] Friday night [at the Turtle Café,] and the place was booming. A bar full of boisterous patrons, a jam-packed dining room, and Dave already off and getting set up to play his set. A cutting edge restaurant (which became the East Coast Grill), the Turtle featured contemporary regional cuisine, changing its menu every three or four days not only for variety but to continually showcase whatever was in season, a relatively new concept for its time. On weekends they'd feature jazz greats: Teddy Wilson, Scott Hamilton, Sammy Price, and Gray Sargent, a guitarist who these days works with Tony Bennett. I quickly learned it was a great place to hang out and meet these legends, since they'd usually come in to eat before their gig."