It is with heavy hearts here in Sayulita as we announce the passing of Rollie Dick, the owner of the famous Rollie’s Restaurant, on January 12th, 2020. He was surrounded by his loving wife Jeanne, his daughter Jodi, and son Josh, who were holding his hands, talking to him, and singing in his ear as he went on his way. There will be a celebration of life on February 16th, 2020, at the Western Stage at Hartnell College in Salinas, California. Rollie was a big hearted, big voiced man, who loved everyone. He greeted diners by saying, “welcome to my home”, and he never let anyone leave hungry, always offering an extra pancake (on the house!)
Rollie first opened the restaurant in February of 2000, with only one employee, Adriana; then, during the 2001-2002 season, his wife Jeanne retired and moved to Sayulita to be with Rollie and help run the restaurant. One of the greatest things about Rollie, and there were many, was that in 2002, he had an idea to make all of the restaurant employees part owners, and he shared the profits among his ten employees. Rollie loved being in the heart of the village, loved the people and the culture of Mexico, and would feed the street vendor children and the police for free out of the kindness of his heart.
You may have had the pleasure of hearing the “famous” breakfast song recorded by Rollie’s son, Josh, "Bienvenidos a Rollie’s Restaurant”, which Rollie would often play, sing along, and find a lady for a quick dance. You can watch a video of the fun times here. Rollie also taught many the “proper” way to eat a pancake, and always warned, “the salsa is made fresh daily, and some days it’s hotter than others”. Rollie always had crayons for the children and proudly posted all of the artwork from kids, and would often show the entire restaurant the masterpieces as they were finished.
Rollie and Jeanne retired and moved back to California in 2014 to spend time with family and welcome their first grandchild. The former location of Rollie’s Restaurant is now Zatar, where the owners Kelly and Waiel, long time friends of the family, have set up a remembrance altar out front, and they are encouraging everyone who knew Rollie to stop by, light a candle, and write a message on vintage postcards from the original restaurant. Kelly will be sending them all to Jeanne and the family.
If there is a celebration of life or memorial service here in Sayulita, we will be sure to pass on the details as soon as we know. Our heartfelt condolences go out to Jeanne, Jodi, Josh and the grandkids. Rollie will be forever missed and remembered here in Sayulita.
*Written by: Valorie VanRheen