Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune
Farnesi’s server Anna McKenzie hugs longtime patron and friend, Fran Bass, at the restaurant. McKenzie is retiring after more than 43 years working at the establishment.
Longtime server Anna McKenzie, 80, is hanging up her order pad at Farnesi’s Restaurant after waiting tables there for more than 43 years. She started working for the popular restaurant in November 1975; Dec. 28 will be her last day.
When owner Don Cedarlof bought the restaurant on Jan. 1, 1976, McKenzie had been on staff for just two months.
Cedarlof himself began working as a dishwasher for Tom and Vera Benning in July 1964, just after high school, he said. The late Jan Nyberg, a longtime Farnesi’s waitress got him the job, said Cedarlof.
He and his partner Carla Roberts share the cafe’s chores. She is in charge of human resources and accounting, while he runs the kitchen, cocktail lounge, coffee shop and dining room.
Roberts’s mother, the late Ruth Pierson, worked as a server at the restaurant for many years too.
“Anna works the breakfast shift, 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday through Friday,” said Cedarlof.
She also takes care of her mother who is 97. She is planning to move to Arkansas where her son and other family members live, said Cedarlof.
McKenzie is fond of the customers she serves and will miss them.
“I have a lot of people I love,” she said. “And the CHP officers are my sons. I have adopted them all.”
The restaurant employs 20 people, five cooks including Cedarlof’s daughter, Paula Albertini, and 15 servers.