Just returned from a fab meeting with Gray Hartley of Hartley Ostini Hitching Post Wines, I have lots of stories. The two have been partners in the business since 1979, when they first made wine together. Since business partnerships like the one Gray Hartley has with Frank Ostini are rare, I think the story of how they met is worth retelling.
Hartley bought a house in Casmalia, CA just around the corner from the site of the first Hitching Post restaurant. He spent his days working on the house, renovating it smelling the wonderful flavorful food that wafted out of the Hitching Post restaurant. He finally went into the restaurant for a dinner one night where he witnessed a couple putting on their sweaters and watching the waitress while they were just half way through their steak dinners.
So, he mentioned to the hostess that he thought the couple might run off without paying the bill. The hostess went in back to tell the owner, Frank Ostini, and the couple got up and left. Hartley followed them out the front door where their car was perched right in front of the restaurant pointed in the direction for home. He quickly wrote down their license plate number to give to Ostini. Ostini has been known to say he may have been out a $50 dinner but he made a lifelong friend.