Penny L. Rodriguez began her career as a server with Penny’s All American Café as a way to support her family and subsequently spent the next decade cultivating her expertise in the hospitality industry with roles in other restaurants. In 2002, she had the good fortune to be able to purchase Penny’s All American Café while retaining all of the existing staff. A much-beloved restaurant in the community, Ms. Rodriguez is proud that Penny’s All American Café has thrived as a family-owned business for two decades, even during difficult economic periods such as the Great Recession and the COVID-19 pandemic.
Located in Pismo Beach, California, Penny’s All American Café is known for its homestyle meals, especially its award-winning pork chili verde and clam chowder, the latter of which won the Pismo Beach Clam Festival Competition in 2013. Ms. Rodriguez attributes much of their success to their focus on consistent, quality recipes, though she also emphasizes the importance of their dedicated and supportive staff and constantly strives to ensure that her team is treated fairly. Over the years, she has made a name for herself as someone who will always go the extra mile for customers, who are her primary source of motivation in her everyday work. Penny’s All American Café has truly been embraced by the community as a result of Ms. Rodriguez’s customer-minded focus, and she, in turn, does her utmost to give back to the community.
Ms. Rodriguez is a member of the Pismo Beach Chamber of Commerce and previously spent a year on their board as well. During the Great Recession, she became involved with the Jacqualyn Palchak Cancer Fund, a breast cancer fundraising campaign, and provided gift baskets for chemotherapy patients full of goods donated from business owners across Pismo Beach. Still active with the fund today, she now does gift card raffles at Penny’s All American Café, which has brought in more than $60,000 in donations. Furthermore, Ms. Rodriguez has also given back to the California central coast chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association, various booster programs for California Polytechnic State University and the Association of Amputee Surfers.
For her efforts to give back to the community, Ms. Rodriguez was presented with the Small Business of the Month Award by the 35th District assembly member, Jordan Cunningham, in March 2017. She was nominated for this award by a man who frequented Penny’s All American Café and nominated her and the business to show his appreciation. More recently, in 2019, Penny’s All American Café was named Business of the Year by the Pismo Beach Chamber of Commerce, an accolade it had previously been presented in 2007. Looking toward the future, Ms. Rodriguez intends to continue maintaining the café while also planning for her eventual retirement. To young and aspiring professionals, she would pass on the advice to believe in yourself and not let people tell you what to do.
Ms. Rodriguez is deeply grateful to have her family alongside her at Penny’s All American Café. Her husband, Dale, is a retired firefighter, and they have been happily married for more than three and a half decades. Together, they are the proud parents of three children, Cheyenne, Ryan and Derek, all of whom have worked at Penny’s at one time or another. Her daughter, Cheyenne, has gone on to serve in the United States Navy while her son, Ryan, continues to work at the café and even met his wife, Virginia, there. When she is not working, Ms. Rodriguez enjoys spending time with her family, which has now grown to include two grandchildren. More information, and an online menu, can be found at http://www.pennysallamericancafe.com/.