By Art Huseonica
Special to Independent Newsmedia
While there are many places to eat in the Sun City area, not many restaurants enjoy the luxury of full capacity seating on most days.
One of these is Brenda’s Kitchen, 13200 N. 113th Ave., Youngtown. Owned by Brenda and Richard Elder, the popular diner, usually referred to as Brenda’s has been open since 1998. Previously, it was known as Silvia’s Kitchen under different ownership.
After completing 20 years ownership and management, the couple plan no major changes as they begin their 21st year.
The Elders’ background is in the newspaper business and restaurant ownership and management. They attribute their current success to treating first-time customers the same as regulars; treating patrons like they themselves want to be treated.
The diner has tables, booths and a counter that seats 63 patrons. Don’t expect a quiet meal here. It’s always crowded and noisy, something that the patrons don’t mind, instead appreciating the friendliness of the staff and fellow diners. Business tapers off, only slightly, during the summer months when winter visitors migrate back north.
Their business model gives the Elders the liberty to be open only 6 a.m.-2 p.m. Monday-Friday. It’s not usual for a line to form to get in, but at peak times the wait is always less than 15 minutes because of the expertise and efficiency of the large wait staff and kitchen crew.
In addition to their delicious meals, supported by soups and sides made from scratch, the staff is like a family; a family without drama and where everyone loves each other.
“We work together like a well-oiled machine,” said Mrs. Elder. “If an employee needs time off, that isn’t a problem because there are cooks and servers ready to fill in.”
All their employees have been working there for years with zero turnover, according to Mr. Elder. He explained that everyone is doing what they love to do.
When a customer enters the diner, they are always greeted with a cheerful “Hello!” by Mrs. Elder. In many cases, regular patrons are greeted by name. If someone has a birthday, she breaks out a large megaphone, gets the entire diner’s attention and leads everyone in singing Happy Birthday. Brenda’s motto is “Mug and A Hug.”
Diners have the option of regular menu items, plus daily breakfast and lunch specials. Most popular is the Friday fish fry with cod, homemade cole slaw and fries. Limitless coffee is only one dollar. Breakfast is served all day.
Editor’s Note: Mr. Huseonica is a Sun City resident.