A local high school jazz band revved up the crowd of 100 VIP guests, and a singer belted out the National Anthem. A pastor prayed blessings the event, and dignitaries pointed to good days ahead. The only thing missing was the fireworks display.


"We're celebrating and giving back to our home in Hesperia," said Sally Myers of BMW Management, which owns the recently reopened Sizzler Restaurant in Hesperia and 23 other Sizzlers.


"We're a company of character and culture," she added. "We're involved with our staff on a daily basis. We're involved with our community on a daily basis. We are committed to our chambers of commerce and our cities."


Myers and her husband Gary demonstrated their commitment to Hesperia quicker than a short order cook grills a cheeseburger.


The company presented $500 checks to the Hesperia High School Jazz Ensemble, Oak Hills High School Jr.ROTC and Sultana High School Associated Student Body. An even larger donation of $2,000 was given to the Hesperia Unified School District for its Clothes Hanger and Lending Library programs.


"I'm a strong proponent of students being able to have the things they need," Myers said.


Quality, affordability and customer service are key elements of the new Sizzler, said Gary Myers, who added that nearly 7,000 guests were served during the previous week.


"It has a little bit of uplift. It has quality," Myers said. "We try to meet and greet everyone. We cut our steaks fresh every day."


Not only were BMW's top brass in attendance, but so were other food service industry professionals affiliated with the franchise.


"We wouldn't have missed it even if there were a tornado," said Kerry Kramp, founder of food service company Level 5 LLC. "Oh, there was a tornado," he joked about the week's dramatic weather conditions.


The Sizzler, which is located in the Midtown Square shopping center on Main Street between E and C avenues, was closed more than a year ago as the local economy took a dramatic downturn. But when BMW Management decided to renovate and reopen the Hesperia Sizzler, an estimated 1,500 job seekers applied for the 85 available positions.


The new restaurant, which was completed about two weeks ago, features remodeled facade and dining areas.


"We really appreciate having a great sit-down restaurant on this side of town," said Mayor Pro Tem Paul Bosacki, one of several city dignitaries in attendance. "This is really a great day to be in Hesperia."


Instead of recoiling, Sizzler management decided to take a leap of faith and reposition itself in the industry and Hesperia.


"We wanted to reinvent Sizzler," Kramp said. "I think what you've seen is a new spirit, an American spirit."


"Target is the best in their class. Nordstrom's is best in their class," added Gary Myers. "And we're going to be the best in our class."