By Manotick Messenger/RichmondHub
It had been nearly three years since the last of their famous breakfasts was served, but Royals Restaurant in Richmond has finally reopened their doors.
“In a lot of ways, it will be like opening a brand new restaurant,” said Derrick Fisher, who is a co-owner of the restaurant with Nick Mamalis. “There are a lot of new people in Richmond since we were last open. Many of them have never been to Royals.”
The restaurant is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, as they first opened in 1973 as the Miss Richmond Diner. A couple years later, they moved to their current location on Perth Street. The restaurant closed during the pandemic, opting not to go the take out and curbside pick-up route and instead focusing on their catering business.
Fisher and Mamalis worked together at the Red Dot in Osgoode and bought the restaurant in Richmond from Mamalis’s parents, George and Helen, in 2008.
“This is a much different situation,” Mamalis said. “Everything was in place then. We are going to be starting over with an almost entirely new staff, and we have to build new relationships with some of the people we do business with.”
Fisher added that Royals tried to be as local as they can with their suppliers. Among them in the past have been places like Rideau Pines and Abby Hill Farms of Manotick.
While there is almost a 100 per cent turnover in staff, there will be at least one familiar face as Brittany McKenna is still on the management team. Royals held a job fair day which was well attended, and McKenna is happy with the level of enthusiasm both with the new staff and from the community.
“We only had a one day fair, and we did all of our hiring then,” she said. “We had a lot of interest from South Carleton High School students looking for work, and we had a lot of people in their 20s attend.”
The staff may be new and there may be a few tweaks on the menu, but Royals will be the Royals that the area around Richmond has known for generations.
“We have always been known for our breakfast,” Mamalis said. “We had been building our lunch crowd and in 2010 we opened for dinner. We always tried to be a family-oriented community restaurant with good food, good service and a friendly atmosphere.”
Fisher said that the restaurant had become a part of the everyday lives of many of the regular customers. He added that the restaurant did not have a bar atmosphere like many of the other area restaurants do.
“I remember one day where we had three generations of the same family all come in separately on the same day,” he said. “That’s the kind of place Royals had always been.”
The big question, of course, has to do with the sign out front. Will the most famous spelling mistake in Richmond be corrected? Will there be a new sign?
Mamalis embraces the sign as he ponders the answer.
“We thought about making an announcement like, ‘you’re favourite dinning lounge is back!’ and we had a few other ideas,” said Mamalis. “That sign has been there for 30 or 40 years. It’s a sign of the times when my parents had to get things done in a hurry and at a low cost.”
The restaurant is currently open Wed-Sun for breakfast and lunch until 2 p.m..
Feature image – Derrick Fisher, Brittany McKenna and Mick Mamalis have been working hard to get Royals Restaurant ready to re-open.