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PETTISVILLE — Life has come full circle for Becky Rhodes. Having worked as a waitress at Das Essen Haus at the age of 12, Rhodes and her family have now become the new owners of the restaurant, located just outside Pettisville.

“I worked for the Dieners when I was 12,” said Rhodes. “Esther (Diener) became a mentor to me. She taught me everything. I know every aspect of it (the restaurant).”

Starting as a waitress, Rhodes went on to learn the salad bar, and eventually to cook the home-cooked meals the restaurant is known for. Through her experiences there, the young Rhodes became enamored with the food industry.

“I just have a love for the food industry,” said Rhodes.

Over time, the original owners, Esther and Edward Deiner, began to look for the next generation to take over the business.

Rhodes, who at the time had a chance to take over, was just a year out of high school.

“Esther asked me in 1999 if I wanted to buy it,” said Rhodes. “But I was just out of high school.”

Rhodes thought she might have missed her opportunity. Instead, she gave the then current owners a call, one that changed her life.

“I got this urge to call them,” said Rhodes. “We just kept working on it. Things kept progressing. I didn’t want to own a restaurant, but I wanted to own this restaurant.”

Rhodes, who was working for Don’s Automotive Group in Wauseon, is turning to her family to help, much like the Dieners.

“Friday was my last day at Don’s,” said Rhodes. “My husband is a union foreman, he’ll keep his job. Between us, we have five kids. They are excited as well. It’s been a family project.”

Now, Rhodes wants to make sure Das Essen Haus will return to the vision Esther and Edward Diener had. Included in that is all the old recipes Esther had written out by hand.

“Esther had given me her recipes handwritten by her,” Rhodes said. “When my sister was cleaning, she found a box and it was all of Esther’s recipes.”

The first thing Rhodes has planned is the return of homemade pies, cinnamon rolls, tapioca and bread pudding. The broasted chicken and prime rib buffet are next.

The Rhodes family have been busy working on remodeling projects in the building. The plan is to be open when the stay-at-home order has been lifted.

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