Richard_Willis_Headshot

Richard Willis

Posted on March 25, 2014

With a warm, kind nature that makes everyone feel welcome, Richard works as a Customer Service Specialist in our hot grille downtown. He enjoys a simple life that began in Cincinnati, and after a few detours, brought him to Texas.

One of those detours was a move to Flint, Michigan, in 1977. After attending a friend’s wedding, Richard decided he liked the area and was going to stay. With only the clothes in his suitcase and $10 in his pocket, he never looked back as he began to carve out a life in a new city.

Richard quickly landed a job with General Motors, and in short order, met the woman of his dreams. He was introduced to his future wife, Terry, through a former girlfriend. They were married in 1979 and started their family. While his family was thriving–blessed with one son and two daughters–things were winding down at General Motors. Richard and his family moved to Atlanta, where they lived for several years until Terry became homesick for her family, who was beginning to settle in Texas. They made the big move to Texas and Richard decided to explore his passion for cooking.

Newly arrived in Houston, Richard worked for Pappadeaux and after a two-week training period, was placed in one of their busier restaurants. He decided Pappadeaux wasn’t for him and longed for a better place to work. He had driven by Phoenicia several times and had left an application, but had yet to hear back from anyone. He was becoming anxious. Once while driving by Phoenicia, he pointed out to his wife, “I interviewed there and they never called me!” Then, as Richard fondly recalls, divine intervention stepped in and changed his life. No sooner were those words out of his mouth than his cell phone rang. Phoenicia called to ask if he would like a job!

With that foretelling phone call, Richard knew Phoenicia was where he needed to be and started working right away. He recalls how different the environment was from any job he’d ever had, and embraced his diverse surroundings. He learned to appreciate different cultures and is thankful for the friends he made from all different walks of life. Now an eager ambassador, Richard helps people step out of their comfort zone to try food with which they may not be familiar. His boundless energy and exuberant personality make him a shining star at Phoenicia!

Richard loves the Tcholakian family and counts them among his blessings. Very proud and honored to work for them, he glows when he talks about his encounters with each family member.

Hands down, Richard’s favorite dishes are Arpi’s salad with chicken shawarma and BREAKFAST. He especially likes our grits and eggs and encourages everyone to come visit him early for breakfast downtown.

The only flaw Richard seems to have is a love for the Cincinnati Bengals. Maybe a Texans’ winning season will sway him?