ANTIOCH -- After more than a quarter-century of serving sandwiches named after local historical landmarks and figures, a popular downtown restaurant may soon by serving its last trademark after-meal cookie.
Connie Komar, owner of Rick's on Second, will be closing the Rivertown eatery on Dec. 20 to spend more time with her family -- including her elderly parents and baby-sitting her 1-year-old granddaughter.
She is hoping to sell the restaurant, but does not know how long that will take.
"I'm really excited and looking forward to it. I haven't had a real vacation in 26 years," said Komar, who owned La Ultima Mexican restaurant in Danville before taking over of Rick's in July 2011.
Rick's on Second was founded by Rick and Janis Carraher in July 1986. The couple retired in 2011 exactly 25 years after signing the lease for the once-dilapidated property.
Connie Komar, who lives in downtown Antioch, had been a fan of Rick's for years. She had jokingly asked Rick whether he was ready to retire and sell the restaurant to her.
In 2011, it happened.
The Komars kept the menu and the decor, which includes cream-colored tablecloths, tiny American flags on the table centerpieces and photos of old Antioch and antiques on the walls, intact.
She had planned to expand on Rick's by opening Friday and Saturday nights before shows at the El Campanil Theatre, and serve beer and wine. But, it became more complicated than she envisioned, with all the paperwork involved for alcohol permits and extra time involved.
"I started out really gung-ho, but then life got in the way," Komar said. "It was taking up too much of my life.
Hopefully, the next person is younger than me and has a lot of energy."
Komar said she will miss the great relationship she built up with her employees and the customers.
A block from City Hall, Rick's earned a reputation over the years of being a popular spot for East Contra Costa's political movers and shakers. The lunch business is still booming and the restaurant also does a sizable catering business.
Komar said her hope is that another owner comes along and keeps Rick's character, noting it already has name recognition and a customer base.
Most patrons eating lunch at the restaurant this week agreed. Almost all of them were sad to hear it was closing, and hoped a new owner would come on soon.
As they've done for decades, Bud and Betty Herrier of Alamo met cousins Gayl and Ray Krumland of Antioch for lunch at Rick's Monday. While the men carried Styrofoam containers filled with leftovers, all four lamented about the news.
"It's very sad. We like it that way it is, and we were happy she kept it the same two years ago," Betty Herrier said.
Added Betty Herrier: "Hopefully, it reopens and there isn't a change."
Contact Paul Burgarino at 925-779-7164. Follow him at Twitter.com/paulburgarino.