Kaveh stands in front of the Café Alfresco sign

When it comes to working at Café Alfresco, Kaveh is no spring chicken! Beginning in 2001, Kaveh has worked as a server at the Café for going on 18 years, and he’s got no plans of slowing down. A world traveler, an entrepreneur, and by some accounts a really lucky guy, Kaveh is one of the people that make Café Alfresco such a special place.

A Familiar Face

For more than two decades now, Kaveh has been in or around Café Alfresco almost every day. He first discovered the job while working as a server at a restaurant in North Pinellas County, where a longtime patron recommended seeking employment in downtown Dunedin. Specifically, the diner recommended Café Alfresco where they’d be sure to run into one another. Heeding this advice, Kaveh applied for the job and the rest is history.

“It’s all about the people,” Kaveh explains when asked about his favorite part of the job. “This community is so connected and tight-knit,” he continues, “it’s cool to be around town and get recognized.” His role with the Café isn’t the only reason that Kaveh gets recognized, however. For a period of time, Kaveh owned and operated a hot dog cart, staying out til 3 AM serving hungry club patrons in downtown Dunedin. He also spent time making and selling jewelry at local markets.

In 2013, Kaveh made the difficult decision to return to his family overseas. After five years, Kaveh decided to leave Iran and come back to resume his life in Florida. Picking up where he left off in the United States, he returned to his old job, grateful to be back at the Café and fully expecting to fly under the radar. Humble as ever, Kaveh had no expectations for a grand return to Dunedin – but this wouldn’t be the case. In 2013, before he left for Iran, a regular guest of the Café made a promise to Kaveh.

“He told me that when he gets a new car, he would give me his old one,” Kaveh says, “when I left the country, I totally forgot about it. Then when I came back to work at the Café in 2018, I was walking or biking to work every day. The very next time I saw him he told me ‘hold on, I have something for you’ and thirty minutes later he walks in and hands me the keys.” Parked in front of the Café is a fully refurbished 2006 Chevy SUV. Inspected inside and out, cleaned and detailed, it’s the car that Kaveh drives to this day.

Advice from a Local

Is it possible to get tired of the same restaurant after more than twenty years? For Kaveh, the answer is a resounding “no way.” Not only do the ever-changing chef specials provide great variety, many of our diners become partial to their favorite dish, which is certainly the case for Kaveh. “I like our New York Sirloin with garlic herb butter, mashed potatoes, and the house vegetable. It’s become like a Sunday night tradition for me, with a glass of our house Cabernet.”

A plate with a New York strip steak with butter, a handful of fries and mixed vegetables

A man with a distinguished palate to be sure, Kaveh’s lunch selection is no less enticing. “If I’m on my feet I’ll get something lighter. Usually our chicken sandwich which comes with caramelized onions and mushroom,” Kaveh tells us, “I imagine the house Cab would go pretty well with that too.”