The Secret to Restaurant Success? Be a Know-It-All
By Lorna Oppedisano | Photography by Steven J. Pallone
On almost any given day, Marty Richardson can be found at Nestico’s Too, doing just about any job — and doing it well.
Though Marty has owned Nestico’s Too since 2007, not many of the customers initially realized she was running the establishment. In fact, people are still often surprised to learn the owner herself works there nearly every day.
“I would say the most important thing I learned very early on was to learn how to do every position in the restaurant,” she said.
Marty’s worked in the restaurant industry most of her life, from the time she got her first job at the A&W in Cicero when she was 14.
In 1998, she was hired as a server at Waffle Works in the building Nestico’s Too now occupies. She served for half a year before beginning a series of promotions, until she was eventually running the establishment.
As she became more familiar with the restaurant industry, she learned every position. That versatility is one of the most important pieces of advice she’d pass on to anyone interested in restaurant management or ownership, she said.
“I always thought it was very important to be able to step into any position at any time and be able to do the job,” she said. The restaurant was eventually sold to the Nestico family and became Nestico’s Too. Marty ran operations there for a few years until finally buying it in 2007.
“We joke that I come with the building,” she said with a chuckle.
As her restaurant experience evolved over the years, Marty was always included in decisions about what they offered their guests.
“I had owners who gave me full freedom to do whatever I wanted,” she said. “So, I was able to make changes as I went along. I’ve always done the menus. I’ve always picked what we’ve served and specials.”
She and the Nestico’s Too team, which includes Marty’s sister, Ana, have tailored the menu to what they’ve found the area likes — classic with some twists, Marty said.
The menu includes breakfast and lunch offerings, coupled with specials the team creates each week. This month, the specials menu includes pumpkin pancakes.
“People will literally start asking about pumpkin pancakes in June,” Marty said, “because they’re obsessed with the pumpkin pancakes. So, we run those all fall.”
The whole team at Nestico’s Too makes the restaurant run quickly and efficiently, especially on busy weekends, she said. Over the years, she’s found that hiring people based on personality has gained the best results. People with less experience are often more willing to learn how the team functions, she said.
“They’re as valuable to me as I am to this place,” she said about her team. “Every person is equally important to me. I always just want them to feel really valued.”
About a year ago, Marty added a second establishment to her restaurant portfolio: The Rise and Grind Café.
She’d been toying with the idea of opening a coffee shop for a while. When the perfect location came up — a space in the same plaza as Nestico’s Too — she knew it was time to make her dream a reality.
A self-proclaimed obsessive multi-tasker, Marty said she’s had fun running the two businesses. Customers often ask her if she’d open another Nestico’s Too, offering up suggestions for the perfect location. She prefers to be very hands-on with her projects, though, and wouldn’t want to stretch herself thin.
As both businesses continue to grow and evolve, she’s happy to do any job that needs to be done, from cooking to serving to hosting to bussing tables. In fact, she loves running around on busy Sunday mornings to clear tables and overhear guests’ conversations about their dining experience.
“It just makes me work even harder,” she said. “I love that people are proud of us and compliment us on the job we do.” SWM
Nestico’s Too is located at 4105 W. Genesee St. in Syracuse. For hours, menus and specials, visit nesticostoo.net, call the restaurant at 315-487-5864 or connect with them on social media.