José Luis Villegas/

Nick Dedier, co-owner of Aji Japanese Bistro in El Dorado Hills, talks with Hillary Jennings last month in the restaurant. Dedier returned to the region after holding management jobs with renowned restaurant groups. “We’re not trying to do anything precious,” he said. “It’s about the entire production: good food, friendly people, a great beverage selection. I wanted to build a place that I’d like to eat in.”

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