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Riccardi’s Red Hots owner meant a lot to others

SYCAMORE – Suzi Riccardi said she’ll miss her husband Frank for everything he was.

“He was a family person, huge family person,” she said. “That was his life and his world. And honestly, when we lost our eldest son, that was destroying him from the inside.”

Frank L. Riccardi, 65, of Sycamore, died Monday of heart failure.

Tony – Frank and Suzi’s middle son – said he’ll miss seeing his father interact with Tony’s sons, Milo, 2, and Pele, two months.

“He’s not gonna see them grow up or have any more memories with them,” Tony said as he choked up a little. “My kids aren’t really going to remember him, except through stories, because they’re not going to have the kind of relationship they should have.”

Frank Riccardi and Suzi ran Riccardi’s Red Hots, located at 418 E. State St., next to the Sycamore State Theatre from 2008 until April 2016. The restaurant was a popular joint known for its burgers, hot dogs and its “heart-stopper line” of sandwiches.

Suzi said the diner gave her husband something to do.

“It gave him something to focus on that he enjoyed,” she said. “He was playing his music there. That, he really loved doing.”

Suzi said her husband will also miss out on enjoying his 1970 Dodge Charger that was recently refurbished.

“That was his dream car,” she said.

Joey, Frank’s youngest son, said he was able to drive his dad around in the car a couple of times.

“But he wasn’t able to drive it,” Suzi said.

Frank’s family members, including Joey, Tony’s wife, Sally, and Joey’s girlfriend, Allison, gathered Thursday to talk about Frank a describe a little about who he was.

“Brutally honest,” Joey said. “He’s right or you’re wrong.”

Joey said his father also was selfless.

“He was very giving,” Sally said. “He was willing to give to almost anybody.”

Suzi said Frank would help anybody before he would take from somebody, and it was rare the family wasn’t taking care of someone from outside of the family at their house.

The family made it clear that Frank also had no filter. They laughed as they described Frank’s personality.

“He thought it was fun to make people uncomfortable,” Sally said.

“If he thought you were wrong he told you,” Suzi said. “There was really not a filter on him.”

Riccardi also was a musician. He played in a family band for about 10 years and later on played with his friend, Art Guerrero, in a band called “Yesterday’s News,” for seven more years.

Guerrero, who played guitar and sang in the duo, said it didn’t take long for him and Frank to click.

“A lot of that is because he displayed a genuine affinity toward me,” he said. “He was a very genuine person. It’s what drew us together. I really respect that in a person.”

Guerrero said he couldn’t capture in words how to describe Frank. He called Frank a brother and said Frank had a way with him.

“Frank inspired me to do things I never thought I’d be able to do,” Guerrero said. “I was deathly afraid of singing and playing in front of an audience. I don’t know how Frank did it. Frank had a way of doing voodoo to give me confidence.”

Suzi said family was everything to him.

“That was his number one,” Sally said. “He cared about that more than anything else, his family.”

Source: The Daily Chronicle

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