Manlius: Daughter takes over Dad's diner

Rick "Fritz" Fritcher died earlier this month from skin cancer. For 14 years, he owned "the best kept secret in town" -- Kingsley's Family Diner -- in Manlius. Now, his 19-year-old daughter Andrea has the business and she's calling it Dad's.

"He told me he wanted me to have it but I didn't want to just take it," Andrea said. "It's everything he worked for and I didn't want the credit, but now it's different."

Is it something she's always wanted to do?

"Yeah, kind of -- more so now that he's gone," she said. Her father died Dec. 6 after a four-year battle with melanoma.

Rick, a native of North Syracuse who became a black belt in karate just two years ago, got full custody of his daughter when she was 1 1/2 years old. Her mother, the late Eileen Forger, lived in Colorado and died last year. Andrea was their only child together.

Two aunts, two cousins and her grandfather help run the restaurant.

"I couldn't do this, be here, without the support of all my family," she said. "I plan on continuing my father's belief of good service and great food at a better price."

She said she hopes to have the signs changed by the first of the year, and eventually update the d (c)cor.

In the meantime, her dad's perseverance stays etched in her mind.

"He worked everyday," she said. "He went on like nothing was wrong. Nothing was going to keep him from doing what he wanted."

She seems to have adopted her father's strong work ethic as she has another business -- flipping houses. At age 18, this savvy teenager established her own company called A & R Investment Properties where she buys homes that are rundown, repairs and renovates them, then resells.

A homeowner herself, Andrea said she believes her father's sickness made her independent "a lot faster than I had to be."

"I was the one who took care of him," she said -- changing his bandages after surgeries and making sure he was healing okay.

As for Andrea, her healing process is just beginning -- with Dad's leading the way.

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