Yolanda Quam, The Fuel Shack

This story was originally published in inlandempiresbdc.org.

Not even two years young, San Clemente’s Fuel Shack displays expertise well beyond its age. Not only does founder Yolanda Quam’s breakfast and lunch kitchen boast the 13th highest Yelp.com national ranking, it provides a community atmosphere where every customer feels like family.

You’ll remember what you ate, but you’ll remember more about service. We want to serve a great product and make people feel good. I want them to feel like they’re walking into my home.

photo of Yolanda Quam

Fresh, slow-cooked meals are the soul of The Fuel Shack. Yolanda used this same nurturing culinary style to raise her own children, and learned the technique from her grandmother.

A new career

Starting a breakfast and lunch cafe was always a dream of Yolanda’s during her 25 year career as a pediatrician and Medical Director of a community clinic, but she never knew where to begin. When she retired from medicine in 2015, her husband signed her up for classes on opening restaurants. Soon after, she contacted the Inland Empire SBDC and they connected her with Robert Usher. Usher and Yolanda met once a week for one-and-a-half years as he offered her advice and taught her to write business proposals.

He was a god send! When it came to writing a business plan, I’d never written one. Off-time, online he was available and was instrumental in giving me confidence in doing what I wanted to do. I appreciate that he believed in my dream and offered support and resources to realize it.

Photo of inside The Fuel Shack

Yolanda never thought receiving national acclaim for her freshly ground coffee and slow-cooked meals was even a goal to pursue, but now she credits the success of Fuel Shack to their emphasis on customer service. Orange County’s culinary future will remain bright as The Fuel Shack continues to fuel its mind, body and soul.