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OUT TO LUNCH ‌ California Dreaming

Cheesecake Dreamin' with Francina Smalls-Joyner

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Who: Francina Smalls-Joyner is Piccolo Spoleto's bubbly coordinator of volunteer services and visual arts exhibitions. Ten years ago, Francina, double majoring in art history and studio art at CofC, was toiling for Piccolo as an intern, earning college credits. After putting in several years of sweat equity, Piccolo elevated Francina to her present position in 2000. She loves the people she works with and the satisfaction of contributing to the welfare of Charleston— despite the continual difficulties, the hard choices, and the hectic pace from now through the end of June. Francina and co-workers mail out roughly 1,150 volunteer notices and average 235 positive replies, but Piccolo needs 300 volunteers each year. During the festival, you may catch a fleeting glimpse of Francina and her staff of seven scurrying about town, plugging the gaps at one event and then heading off to shore up the next event. Francina says interested volunteers can call her at 958-6459.

Favorite Lunch Spot: California Dreaming, that imposing fortress overlooking the Ashley River and located at One Ashley Pointe Drive. "This place has a great atmosphere for any affair," Francina says. She and her office mates often hold informal meetings and birthday parties here. In addition, the parking is quite convenient, the views are gorgeous, and the prices are affordable for people who work in the public sector. And then there's the matter of the killer cheesecake.

Favorite Dish: Cheesecake. All other foods here are mere fillers. It's the New York cheesecake that keeps Francina coming back. She claims she didn't even like cheesecake until she sampled the one served here — it was love at first bite. —Roy Freedman>

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