July 9, 2020
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Retired officers know a good restaurant

By: Irene Hilsendager
December 13, 2019

An invitation was extended and the interest turned to why retired police officers meet once a month at Marvin’s Restaurant in Cotati.

These gentlemen come from South San Francisco, San Bruno, San Francisco, Petaluma, Burlingame, Napa and from all around the Bay Area just to eat breakfast and home-style cooking at Marvin’s.

Ed Calleja says it is the camaraderie that brings them together to chit chat about the old stations, mainly northern and central station in San Francisco and to discuss being in retirement.

Many worked for years as undercover cops, canine units, background checkers, motorcycle squads, narcotics, patrolmen and just walking beats. Working in that type of career, many seek relief by just talking and re-living some incidents that happened while on the job; discussing who still lives in the area, losing spouses or hearing that one of their comrades has passed on. The ages vary; probably from 58 on up to early 80s.

The large group, anywhere between 40 to 50 members, fills the restaurant and it is a very busy morning for Liz Hernandez and her crew of workers. The retired peace officers insisted that Liz get most of the credit-good food and excellent service. 

The conversation turned to the weather when someone mentioned the recent PG&E power outage in Cotati and how the group at Marvin’s saved the five days of grumbling and a safe place to rest.

Liz said she and her family came to the restaurant to mainly stay warm and sit and drink their morning coffee. Cars were parked deep in the parking lot; many having been evacuated from the fires. One family said it took them four hours to come from Sebastopol.

Liz said they had a generator so the refrigerators could continue to run but were not set up to be a serving restaurant during that time. 

The staff made coffee and pancakes, using paper plates and plastic utensils for serving, but no one complained. Many elderly folks kept knocking on the door and just asking for water but Liz was so gracious and invited everyone in and tried to meet everyone’s needs. Some were so grateful just for a small cup of hot coffee.

Everyone was so appreciative. Liz would not accept payment for anything; she just wanted to extend friendship and nurturing help and a place where people could talk and rest.

Liz and her father, Abel, opened Marvin’s in August 2004. Liz has three children ranging in age from one and a half to fourteen. She says the family is local and wants to give back to the community as her clients are mostly local customers that are like family; keeping her hours consistent from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. seven days a week. 

Liz commented by saying, “Cotati is a little family town where everybody knows each other and will always help each other out as neighbors should do.”