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Rochester comes together to honor loved restaurant owner

There’s an out-pour of support from the restaurant industry and community members for late Nicci Sylvester.

Posted: Dec. 10, 2018 4:18 AM
Updated: Dec. 10, 2018 6:37 AM

ROCHESTER, Minn. – On Sunday, community members gathered at Bleu Duck Kitchen to celebrate the life of Nicci Slyvester.

Sylvester passed away suddenly in late November after being hospitalized. The owner of the popular restaurant Tonic, Slyvester is being remembered as a pioneer in Rochester’s restaurant industry for bringing local, farm to table eateries to town.

“Her concept of sourcing local, sourcing fresh, organic as much as possible has been instilled in her from the day I met her… She is the one who brought local farmers to the table,” Jennifer Becker, Nicci’s long-time friend and the co-owner of Bleu Duck Kitchen said.

Becker helped organize the benefit for Nicci on Sunday. More than 25 local restaurants donated food to the event where proceeds go to help support Nicci’s family.

“She was loved by the food industry and a lot of people,” Tim Wiste, Nicci’s fiancé, said.

But her impact spreads far beyond the restaurant business in town. Nicci was heavily involved in the community. So many people wanted to donate and help out, what was supposed to be a potluck benefit turned into a silent auction with more than 65 donated items.

“Today is absolutely incredible. It shows love and being kind to one another. As a community we come together in time of need,” Becker said.

It’s the people showing up to help and the outpour of love from the community that means the most to Nicci’s loved ones.

“It helps me definitely with all the hugs I'm getting and all the love people have shown,” Wiste said.

The running store TerraLoco is also dedicating its monthly $5 5K to Nicci. The proceeds of the run will be donated to the GoFundMe page. The run is happening on Monday, December 10 at 6pm at TerraLoco.

To learn more about Nicci’s story, click here. To donate to her family, click here.

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