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A Canceled Flight on 9/11 Eventually Led to Her to Local Restaurant Success

Call it fate. Call it destiny. Some things are just meant to be, or not to be.

That was the case for Frances Zwick’s career in Los Angeles theater production. She went from a pursuing a career in L.A. to the glitz and grime of the restaurant biz.

On Sept. 11, 2001, Zwick was set to board a flight to L.A. to pursue a career as a sound designer. The Wyoming native had studied sound and set design at Miami University. She was ready for the change of scenery and to pursue her dreams. But the 9/11 terrorist attacks left her stranded in Cincinnati.

Then it happened: she fell in love.

“Shortly thereafter I was introduced to my husband,” Zwick, 40, of Union said. “I decided to stick around here.”

Seventeen years of marriage later, she has no regrets.

“I love him,” she said. “I think he’s hilarious and handsome. He keeps things fun.

The two have a 7-year old daughter. “She’s the light of our life,” Zwick said. “She keeps us on our toes.”

For a few years she worked at Playhouse in the Park and eventually worked on a show in Chicago while planning their wedding.

“It was a crazy adventure,” she said. “Theatrical success is not always the best financial success. So, after that venture, I decided to change direction.”

But Zwick had no idea what she wanted to do. She started working at Perfect North Slopes in Indiana teaching snowboarding. She eventually became manager of the tubing park. It was through this experience that she would be given the opportunity to join her future partners in Recreation Management Team, a restaurant operating organization, to run a LaRosa’s in Greensburg, Indiana.

She answered the knock with a yes.

Ten years later, she still operates this LaRosas and has ownership in two Buffalo Wings & Rings, one in Greensburg and the other in Greendale, Indiana. She and her partners are opened a third Buffalo Wings & Rings in Union on Aug. 17. They’ve purchased two additional Wings & Rings, but are unsure as of now where they will be.

“I’m very excited about this location because it’s right in my own back yard,” she said. “It’s going to be great to operate.”

The restaurant's opening VIP celebration donated proceeds from alcohol sales to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Jeff Zwick is currently battling leukemia.

“(We) hope that people will donate to the cause to help find a cure for others in the future,” Zwick said. 

This Wings & Rings is also be different than other locations, modeling itself after the newer plan for these restaurants. The Union location will be the first to have a larger bar with twenty-four beers on tap. It is also the first location with a pick-up window.

Buffalo Wings & Rings Director of Franchising Dan Doulen said that the corporate office is “very excited” for this Zwick and her partners.

“Her group is very active and helpful to the brand,” he said.

This location will be the second in Northern Kentucky. The other is in Crestview Hills.

“The Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky market is one of our top priorities,” Doulen said. “We’ll have several more locations coming to these areas. Union is an especially good location because it’s a growing community.”

Zwick said she is happy to have found a career that is rewarding, challenging, and fun – and where she gets to be with the love of her life. The best thing about the restaurant biz she said is the growth you get to experience in yourself and the growth you see in those you work with.

“I’ve gotten to see waitresses at LaRosa's start out at 15 making salads in the kitchen and now they’re adults with families and they come in to eat with them regularly. Some of them are nurses or have gone to other careers. It’s fun to see these kids grow and develop. Some stick with us and accomplish great things with us. Others go on to other great things. It’s just so fun to be apart of that.”

Written by Melissa Reinert, RCN contributor

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