Rick’s City Diner expands outdoors: new patio construction completed

by Sylvania AdVantage Staff

Rick’s City Diner patrons will soon be able to enjoy breakfast and lunch on a new patio. “This is something that I have wanted to do ever since I opened the diner seven years ago,” noted owner Rick Salem. “But it wasn’t until we were dealing with COVID-19 that it is happening. Actually, it was the urging of Amy Szabo, the general manager, who not only brought up the idea but got the project underway.”
According to Salem, Szabo was at the restaurant every day during the mandated shutdown helping to clean and getting the diner ready for reopening. “She was here even though she didn’t get paid. It was during this time, I realized how special she is and how much she really cares about the diner and its success. She had been a server for the past four years and was doing a great job, but when we had the opportunity to work closely together I learned that she even thinks like I do. If anything good has come out of these past few months, it’s how fortunate I am to have Amy on our team,” Salem said.

It was during this time that Szabo was promoted to general manager-in-training. With Salem’s help, she is learning every aspect of the business.
“I am thrilled for this opportunity,” Szabo said. “I have always loved diners and it was my dream to be able to run one someday. When I heard that the diner was to close, I cried, and I came back offering to help in any way I could. What else was I going to do? I love this place and everything about it. I love working with Rick and the rest of the staff. I also enjoy getting to know our guests who pretty much are all great. I also love the food. This diner is wonderful. It is a beautiful place to be.”
Since reopening, Szabo has assumed the responsibilities of her new role. She works closely with all of the staff, greets patrons, opens and closes the diner, reconciles the cash drawer, does the banking, keeps tabs on the inventory, helps Salem with ordering and has been spending time learning kitchen routines. “I want to learn everything,” Szabo stated.
In addition to her diner duties, Szabo has also been overseeing progress on the patio, which is adjacent to the diner. The 16-foot by 32-foot outdoor eating area will accommodate up to eight umbrella-equipped tables while maintaining the proper social distance required. Planters filled with colorful flowers will frame the area, creating a private setting. “Rick and I listened to suggestions from our customers and this patio is amazing and beautiful,” she said.
“Amy is doing a wonderful job. She is a hard worker and she is eager to learn everything she can and has so many good ideas for us. She also has a wonderful rapport with our customers. She has been able to bond with a lot of them and they, in turn, enjoy talking with her and treat her with respect,” Salem said. “In addition to all she does at here, she is a single mother of an 8-year-old daughter and is doing a wonderful job as a mother too. That also is a very demanding job and she does it with ease and a smile on her face. She also finds time to serve on the board of the Cherry Street Mission. She truly has earned my respect.”
“We make a great team,” they agreed.

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