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Cafe serves as a haven to anyone named Bob

CARLSBAD — It must have been fate last year when David Mirisch walked into Bobby’s Hideaway Café, the restaurant owned by Bobby Sliwa.
Mirisch, a former Hollywood press agent known as “The Man with the Golden Rolodex,” ordered chicken-fried steak with eggs up, country potatoes, sourdough toast, cold milk and coffee.
“Then I saw the photos and said, ‘What’s with all of this?’” he recalls.
“All of this” was a wall of photographs of celebrities with a variation of Sliwa’s first name, Bobby.
Mirisch introduced himself and his wife, Sandy. He explained that years earlier he dined at the famous Brown Derby in Hollywood which was known for hundreds of autographed celebrity photos that covered the walls. He offered to use his connections to replace Sliwa’s celebrity photographs with autographed ones — like the Brown Derby.
“I was extremely excited…how could I not be?” Sliwa said. “David said, ‘We’re going to fill up your whole wall.’”
To date Mirisch has provided autographed photos of sports celebrities Bobby Anderson, Bobby Grich, Bob Seagren; actors Bob Bergen, Robert Conrad, Robert Fuller, Robert Hays, Robert Loggia, Robert Morse, Robert Pine, Bob Saget, Robert Wagner, Robert Wuhl; and television personalities Bob Goen and Bob Guiney.
Last week Mirisch arrived with a signed photo of ice hockey great, Bobby Orr.
Among the rows of framed, celebrity photos is a sculpture of “Bob’s Big Boy” and a movie poster of “What About Bob?”
In addition to celebrity “Bobs,” Sliwa has a “Not So Famous Bobs” gallery of ordinary people. Plans are underway for a “Bob’s Other Buddies” (BOB) gallery which will be broadcast on overhead, flat-screen TVs.
“It means a lot to customers to show their photos,” he said.
The idea for the photos came about after Sliwa opened the business in 1995.  
“My family suggested that I hang photos of myself throughout the restaurant,” he recalls. “I said, ‘That’s not going to happen.’ Then we came up with the idea to hang photos of famous ‘Bobs.’”
Sliwa’s new friend, David Mirisch, is a member of the Mirisch family that founded Mirisch Film Company, which produced 72 feature films and garnered Best Picture Awards for “The Apartment,” “West Side Story” and “In the Heat of the Night.”
As a Hollywood press agent, Mirisch represented celebrities including Merv Griffin, Raquel Welch and Farrah Fawcett. Today, he produces celebrity fundraising events.
Once a week he and Sandy return to Bobby’s for his signature chicken-fried steak.
“It’s the best breakfast in the world,” Mirisch said.
Sliwa began working in the restaurant industry when he was 12, at a family-owned Greek establishment in Chicago. At 19, he began working in corporate management for Chicago restaurateur Fred Hoffman, the
S&A Restaurant Group (Bennigan’s division) and Sbarro until moving to North County in 1994. The following year he launched Bobby’s Hideaway.
“Our customers are locals so we have to do better,” he said. “My ‘mom and pop’ experience enables me to adapt to customers’ needs and wants while my corporate experience taught me that the most important thing is consistency.”
Sliwa does most of the cooking himself, using recipes he’s collected and tweaked over the years.
“Everything is made-to-order,” he said. “We run daily specials and have a call list to let our customer knows that their favorite dish will be on special the next day.”
Sliwa had a brush with celebrity a year ago when Donald Trump Jr. came in for breakfast after golf. Although he’s not named Bob, his uncle is Robert Trump, brother of “The Donald.”
“Donald Jr. was very cordial,” Sliwa said. “We didn’t know who he was until he paid with a black American Express card — that’s way beyond platinum.”
Sliwa says his mother named him Robert Girard, after the late singer-actor Robert Goulet. His next priority is to get an autographed photo of actor Robert Downey Jr.
The autographed celebrity photos have been a hit with customers, many of whom request to be seated in “Mirisch’s corner.”
Bobby’s Hideaway Cafe is located at 4901 El Camino Real next to Buffalo Brothers Guitars. Hours are Monday from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.
For more information, visit or call (760) 729-6900.