Meet My Family


Name: Robert Rivera
Age: 23
Location: Northridge
Passion/Hobby/Talent: Boxing/Personal training

Robert has been an employee of Maria’s Italian Kitchen for 5 years, but when he’s not at work you can usually find him working out. Robert says, “I’ve always had a passion for working out and I always liked contact sports,” so when a friend invited him to try out a local boxing gym, he was more than willing to give it a try.

Now three years later, he sees it as a great hobby and passion of his, as well as a new opportunity to earn extra income as a personal trainer. The owner of the boxing gym, Nelson, was the one who initially gave him the idea, Robert explains, “I’m always helping my friends with their workouts when they come in, so Nelson suggested I become a personal trainer.”

The owner, who has become a friend and mentor over the years, also suggested it because he saw that Robert had a knack for motivating people to meet their goals. Robert says that he likes the idea of being a personal trainer not only for the extra money to pay off school loans, but because “helping people makes you feel better about yourself too.” Robert is currently taking on his friends at all levels of physical fitness informally as practice as well as taking an online course in order to be certified as a personal trainer.

Working out “in the ring” has not only kept Robert physically fit and healthy, but has also taught him about keeping himself motivated and able to deal with pressure better, which blends perfectly into his work days as a server. Robert says he’s stayed with Maria’s over the years because “it’s a great family environment where everyone really gets along.” He says Maria’s truly lives up to its homey atmosphere, and appreciates how his “Northridge family” gives guests a good sense of hospitality. He says this is partly because of the camaraderie between all of the staff, and mentions that in other restaurants “the cooks don’t talk to the servers or the servers won’t talk to the cooks, and it’s not like that here. Everyone really gets along, and the guests can see that.”