Gene Seran believes Ralston needs another restaurant and he’s doing his part to get the city headed in that direction.

Seran is refurbishing the former Syzzlyn’ Skillet restaurant at 77th and Main streets with the plan for another renter to put a restaurant back into the location.

“I think there is a demand for another restaurant,” Seran said. “This is what the city wants.

“We need a place that is a family style restaurant where people can go after church for breakfast or lunch.”

Seran’s family has owned the property for about 15 or 20 years he estimates. Since he has owned the property, it has been two restaurants, most recently the Syzzlyn’ Skillet for 11 years. Since the Syzzlyn’ Skillet closed three years ago, the building has remained vacant.

“My daughter (Deniz Botkin) actually owned it at the time and her plan was to renovate it,” Seran said. “But she got busy and wasn’t able to do anything with it, so I bought it back from her.”

Seran and his construction crew began work on the space about two months ago. Most of the work involves the interior as they are doing work on the kitchen, dining room and restrooms. Seran said much of the work has involved getting the building fireproof and handicap accessible, along with expanding the dining room area.

“We’ve been up here almost every day since we took it over,” he said.

Seran said he has already spoken with a couple of potential renters. While there is no timetable for when the renovation will be done, he is optimistic something will be done in the coming months.

“We’re trying to do this as soon as possible,” he said.

Seran and his daughter have owned several other properties in the Ralston area. Seran moved from Omaha to Ralston 50 years ago and spent 24 years as a teacher at Ralston High School. He has since moved back to Omaha, but said he will always have a special fondness for a place he considers home.

“I love this town,” he said. “I want to make this something this city can be proud of. I know the city is looking forward to having it open again.”

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