Cienna Madrid

This place is one funky hole-in-the-wall. How do your customers discover it?

I would say the majority of them live or work around here, so they pass by on a regular basis and get curious, which is what happened to me. I investigated and became an instant regular—I've been coming here for three years now. The majority of our customers are regulars.

How did you transition from loyal customer to faithful employee?

I saw an ad on Craigslist and wrote to the owner, Tanya, about how much I loved this place and wanted to work here. I also have a job as a bar back at the Triple Door, so this is my low-key, more-fun job (not that the Triple Door isn't fun—it's just more fast-paced). I love the mom-and-pop feel of the place, where customers come in here just to chat with you and hang out.

All of the hot dogs here are vegetarian—are you?

No, I've got a weakness for halibut. But I love the food here, especially the California dog, which includes "bacon," cheese, avocado, salsa, and onions on a whole-wheat bun.

And you sell beer here?

Yep. Before I worked here, my Friday-night alternative to hitting the bars was coming here, grabbing a beer, and chatting with Tanya or catching a movie (we show those, too—Tanya has a stash). We're open from 10:00 a.m. to midnight every day; come on by and say hello.

Interview by Cienna Madrid