with tears in his eyes my father said “We can’t afford . . .

Chef Michael Patrick | Contributor

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My Thoughts | EAT DINE CHOW

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When JustMyMemphis asked me to write a piece about my life, I was both honored and humbled.

“How did I get here?” Whether because of disappointments in love, crises in health, family or finances, professional dissatisfaction, or events beyond my control. Sometimes life doesn’t look like it expected or intended it to. That life is a vicious cycle. Well in my experience I am here hoping to uplift others. Here is one of my stories.

Chef Michael Patrick is a very active member of the Memphis Community. You will see him and his team at many local fund raising events. Meat Me in Memphis by Monongram Loves Kids Foundations welcomes Chef Michael back year after year!

Growing up I thought we all pretty much had a similar story. But with a lifelong introspective, and having met so many others through the years, I have concluded we are all unique, and that this uniqueness can be used to help uplift others if used properly. Here is a brief story I hope that can help anyone in their time of need.

I was born into a family of 6, Both parents and 4 siblings. We grew up in a very small town Grand River outside of Cleveland, Ohio. We were the average church-going, middle-class, father working, mom attending to children, fun loving family. Then tragedy struck in 1977. My father was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. We moved to the inner city of Painesville, and immediately my mother had to find work. My father was in and out of the VA Hospital trying to rehabilitee in hopes of gaining control, but those hopes diminished quickly as we all realized there was no coming back from this debilitating disease.

I remember how my mother had to juggle 2 jobs sometimes, help raise 4 kids, and attend to my father. (I still don’t know how she could do it)

I remember how my mother had to juggle 2 jobs sometimes, help raise 4 kids, and attend to my father. (I still don’t know how she could do it). We had to watch out for each other. Luckily my brother was 6 years older than me, and my sisters so, he was a stand-in babysitter.

A conversation that sticks out to me in memory was asking my father about this “allowance” thing I had heard of, see my friends in the neighborhood was receiving a dollar or two for doing chores around the house. Something I thought was just what you did as a family nucleus, but I thought it was worth a try especially to an opportunistic child like myself. So, with tears in his eyes my father said “We can’t afford to give you one” But with that Patrick smirky smile that I inherited, He also said, “You can start shoveling snow, cutting grass, and raking leaves to make more money than those allowances”.

I started working a paper route that next summer at the age of 8. I had 19 customers that first year, which also meant with the seasons, I had 19 lawns, to mow, rake, and 19 driveways to shovel. I realized the value of a dollar at a very early age. There were many times that paper route money helped buy groceries or kept the lights on for my family. When I quit that paper route at the age of 15, I had 329 customers. I learned values that would last me a lifetime on the route. I learned what salesmanship meant, learned that your word is your bond, and if you worked hard enough you could see a return on that hard work. I believe and use those same building blocks today in conducting business with others.

Chef Michael Patrick

Chef Michael Patrick

Chef & Owner | Rizzos Diner

I see myself in the near future pursuing my Bachelor’s degree in Computer Information Systems at a prestigious
university and being a New York Times best-selling author of my own novel series.

Some photos in this feature were taken by Michael Butler Jr

So I got here through learning you have to work to get ahead. That life is also something you have to work at. I keep being told by others, you work so you can play. Maybe you do. But that is another story for another time.

Rizzo’s by Michael Patrick is located in the Historic South Main Arts District.

Rizzo’s opened its doors to much acclaim in October 2011, beginning with a quaint 8-table, 32-seat dining room. Under Chef Michael’s leadership, Rizzo’s has grown into the larger location you sit in now.

Award-winning designer Ann Parker collaborated with us to design a space that celebrated the rustic brick and mortar look of the Historic South Main Arts District with splashes of green to highlight our personality. The artwork you see hanging throughout the restaurant is for sale. We proudly showcase Local Artists(inquire within for details).












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