Richie’s Diner welcomes guests with All-American fare

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Richie’s Diner, 32150 Temecula Parkway, in Temecula has been in business since 1991, starting at their original location on Jefferson Avenue. Valley News/Shane Gibson photo

Laci Dontain

Intern

Standing in Temecula’s Paseo Del Sol business center for over 29 years, Richie’s Diner continues to honor its mantra of “Pleasin’ People” through traditional American cuisine and customer assured safety.

As with most businesses, Richie’s Diner has undergone model changes since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

Founder and owner Linda Williams is a popular staple at the restaurant. Williams said she stops by both the Murrieta and Temecula branches of Richie’s Diner a minimum of four times a week to “ensure the quality enforced in 1991 still stands.”

Adapting to the health and safety regulations set by California’s Gov. Gavin Newson and The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Richie’s Diner currently offers both indoor and outdoor seating to meet an increase in customers and is open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily, offering breakfast, lunch and dinner. The indoor seating alternates table arrangements to impose a 6-foot distance between diners.

When asked about the adjustments to indoor dining, Williams said that the most “important aspect” to understand about Richie’s Diner is that “(it) is a patriotic restaurant, and that service to the American people will never go away.”

Keeping up with the new COVID-19 guidelines, Richie’s Diner also experienced “a surge in workers,” according to Laura Smith, a newly employed cashier and local high school student. The diner’s employees come from a variety of age brackets, with the youngest being high school seniors from Great Oak and Temecula Valley high schools.

Temecula Richie’s Diner server Hailey Johnson serves guests at the diner’s patio dining area while following state and county COVID-19 outdoor dining guidelines. Valley News/Shane Gibson photo
Richie’s Diner server Troy Schlaline brings food to the Roseberry family’s table at the diner’s outdoor patio dining area in Temecula. Valley News/Shane Gibson photo

Smith said that the employees “are managed by three different managers, who regularly rotate.” Each manager works alternating times Sunday mornings to help ease what Smith said were the “busiest hours of operation” as “customers herd into the restaurant.”

The staff takes many precautions to stay open from the cleansing routine, rotation between employees and adherence to social distancing policies, which “constitute only a small portion of the measures taken to assure customer safety and satisfaction,” Smith said.

Each menu and table are wiped down and sanitized to reduce germ exposure. All patrons are required to wear a mask upon entry, and masks can be removed after they’re seated and enjoying their food. All staff are required to wear their masks at all times as part of their dress code for their shifts.

Richie’s Diner is well known for its All-American aesthetic for which it has received an International Foodservice Manufacturers Association Silver Plate Award. The diner maintains its retro American diner feel during the current health orders. Williams said she also has two barns on her property that are filled with “diner decorations from every different holiday, from St. Patrick’s Day to Christmas and Thanksgiving.”

The diner’s menu contains many American classics that Williams and her husband created over their years of operation. When asked which menu item was the most popular, Williams said that bread pudding remained “in demand” for those dining outdoors.

“When customers are outside and come into Richie’s because they’re seeing people on the patio, they forget the pandemic and its problems even existed,” Williams said. “While they’re outdoors, they more than likely will pick up an order of bread pudding.”

Laci Dontain can be reached by email at valleystaff@reedermedia.com.