Breakfast Dads – Dave
Have you met Dave?
Dave is one of the friendly Franchise Owners over at our Fourth Avenue, St. Catharines Sunset Grill.
Sadly, Dave lost his father when he was a young teenager. He realized early on that he had to step up, get a job, and start contributing to the household. His younger brother took it exceptionally hard, so Dave did his best to be there for him and help guide him down the right path.
“My mom basically raised three boys on her own,” he explains. “She had her hands full.”
So, he started out at as a busboy at a southern-food style restaurant, and then began serving. From there, he climbed the ladder, gaining valuable experience working different posts within various bars and restaurants.
“I worked my way through the ranks,” he says with pride. He earned his position in management, and eventually even spearheaded new store openings.
He’s well versed in what it takes to run a successful restaurant operation.
Dave and his business partner Rick celebrated the restaurant’s two-year anniversary back in January and they’re looking forward to what’s next. Fun fact: They almost opened a burger joint before the deal fell through and they found Sunset Grill.
The Mississauga-native resides in Oakville with his wife, Emily, and two young children Preston, 3, and Eleanor, who is just one and a half years old. Dave and Emily are celebrating their Tin anniversary this year and Dave couldn’t be more excited. Family is big for him.
Because of the one-shift operation Sunset Grill operates on, Dave is able to make it home for 4:30 p.m. most days and spend quality time with his kids, something he is forever grateful for.
“There are a lot of dads out there that work two jobs, and only get to see their kid one day a week,” says Dave. “I wanted to make sure I was there for them,” he says with compassion.
Preston recently started soccer, and Eleanor is a darling little soon-to-be-boss-lady who is rambunctious and deeply admires her big brother.
While Father’s Day will be a busy day at the restaurant, Dave is looking forward to having a barbecue with the family at home. “As long as there’s meat and beers, I’m happy,” he laughs.
Dave is also looking forward to his annual trip with “the guys” this year. Every year since his wedding (the tradition started with his stag) he and 10 guys spend a weekend in a NFL city, where they catch a game and tailgate. This year’s locale: Minnesota (GO VIKES!). “By the time the game rolls around, we’re just about ready to head home,” he laughs. Dave’s a Cowboy’s fan (sorry) and has even been to Dallas to see the team play on numerous occasions.
Dave attributes the restaurant’s success to being present, and his philosophy of giving back to the community that he serves. “I’ve really embedded myself in the St. Catharines community,” he says. “A lot of guests that come in here, it’s their place to hang out. We know their order when they walk in. I take pride in that.”
The mayor of St. Catharines, Walter Sendzik, is even a regular at his Sunset Grill.
Dave recently ran an event in conjunction with Pathstone Mental Health in support of Children’s Mental Health week and donated 20 per cent of all proceeds from sales that day to the organization. “We’re thankful that we had an opportunity to give back in a meaningful way,” says Dave. It’s this type of work that fuels him.
Dave recalls one of his regulars that comes in once a day, Bill, an older gentleman. One day Bill came in with what looked like an allergic reaction spread across his arms – he was red and blotchy – and they knew they had to check on him and make sure he was alright. They urged him to go and get it checked out immediately. Bill’s response was telling. “You guys are like my family here. If you tell me to go do something, I’ll do it,” he says.
It’s forging those relationships with loyal guests that keeps him excited to come to work every day. That, and the relationships he’s built with his staff. “We built it up to be a family,” Dave shares. “I’m proud of the level [and speed] of service we provide here and knowing that this is the place to be in the area and that people talk about it, I’m proud of that,” he says.
Dave’s acquired an unusual knack for spotting new dads or fathers-to-be that come in from the hospital across the road. “I can spot fathers-to-be when they come in for take-out, because they have just the biggest smile on their face,” he says. “They ask me, ‘how do you know I’m a new dad?’ and I respond with, ‘Well you look like the happiest you’ve ever been ordering your breakfast!’,” he smiles.
Dave has been so kind as to offer advice to other Sunset Grill Franchise Owners that have approached him and tells it like it is. For anyone looking to get into the restaurant business he cautions, “just make sure it’s something you want to do before you get into it. It’s not as easy as you think,” he says. It takes a lot of hard work.
The next time you stop by for breakfast or lunch at our Fourth Avenue, St. Catharines Sunset Grill, be sure to say hi to Dave!
Fourth Ave. & First Street Louth
300C Fourth Ave., Unit 9,
St. Catharines, ON, L2S 0E6
Monday to Friday 6:30 AM to 3 PM
Saturday & Sunday 7 AM to 3:30 PM