Q&A: Mayfield grad, restaurant owner helps community


Mama Roberto's official website

Rick Rhein, owner of Mama Roberto’s in Mentor, has helped local organizations by donating food and gift certificates to local organizations. Rhein also works with Mayfield High School each year to cater the Winter Formal, hosted by Mrs. Czikray and Cats Cabinet.

Kevin Bluffestone, Staff Writer

The Paw Print’s Kevin Bluffestone had an opportunity to interview Mayfield graduate Rick Rhein about his business, Mama Roberto’s, and how the restaurant helps the community.

The Paw Print: Your restaurant has been giving back to the community for years. Can you tell me some of the places you give to?

Rick Rhein: We [help at] the Veterans’ Hospital. We used to go to the Louie Run [and] feed the set-up people. They would use the money to help the different charities. We did the March of Dimes with the Signature Chefs Auction. We would go down to the Food Bank and we’d raise money for the Food Bank. We would bring cannolis and pizza. They would sell tickets and we’d do that, so that you’d raise money for the Food Bank. We’ve been doing that for years. We feed Project Hope when they need stuff. We work with St. Paschal’s with the Night Riders.

The Paw Print: How did you come up with the idea of giving back to all of these places?

Rick Rhein: If everybody does a little, then one person doesn’t have to do a lot. And there are people who need things. I feel like we’re blessed by being able to do what we do. There are a lot of times when people need a handout. We like doing handouts.

The Paw Print: How long have you been giving back?

Rick Rhein: We’ve been doing it since we started. We come up with different ideas to do stuff. We had gift cards made that show me and my wife riding a motorcycle. We sold them at the Louie Run. Those were $10 and they can keep the money and they use the money for charity.  Then people at the Louie Run buy them because people that go to the Louie Run, the motorcycle guys, they’re really good people and they do stuff to help other people all the time. One hand washes the other. It builds my business and helps people at the same time.

The Paw Print: What was the response you have received from those you have given to?

Rick Rhein: They know we are genuine people and we aren’t doing it for any other reason than to do it. We use to try to do as many as possible, but we try to keep it local.

The Paw Print: What has it meant to your business to be able to give back to your community?

Rick Rhein: I just like doing it. I was there; I was homeless when I was out of high school. I was homeless for a while. I never forgot it. I’ve got a guy that found me a place to live. There was a Priest at St. Clare, and he found me a place to stay until I got on my feet. And I stayed there. I know him to this day and it is 50 years later. To this day, when he calls up and asks me for help or a hand… I can never repay him, what he did for me. I think that’s the way the world should be. It’s loyalty.

The Paw Print: Do you have any criteria to give back to someone?

Rick Rhein: No, I just know. I had a guy come in here one night with two kids. He kept looking at the door and you could see they were in trouble. He ate and I looked out and there he was driving away. He didn’t pay for his meal or nothing. My wife goes, “You should call the police,” and I said anyone that has to do that would risk losing his kids just to get a hot meal.  I don’t want his money.  That’s where it started. It’s loyalties. People that were loyal to us and we help [and] they help us. It goes back and forth. People know if they are jammed up, they can call me. You will know which one strikes a chord in your heart and makes you want to do something. If I had a lot of money, I wouldn’t have any because I would give it all away.

The Paw Print: What is your connection to Mayfield?

Rick Rhein: I went to Mayfield. I grew up in Mayfield Heights […] on Mayfield Ridge.

Mama Roberto’s is located on Mentor Avenue in Mentor.  Visit www.mamarobertos.com to learn more.