Daniel Rogers, who always has a broad smile on his face, is a big hit with management, co-workers and customers at Chestnut Grill. (Photo by Len Lear)

Daniel Rogers, who always has a broad smile on his face, is a big hit with management, co-workers and customers at Chestnut Grill. (Photo by Len Lear)

by Len Lear

If you eat out a lot in restaurants, you may come to the conclusion, as we have, that young people today get a bad rap. One meets so many in restaurants these days who are smart, polite and hardworking. A perfect example is Daniel Rogers, 24, who currently works at Chestnut Grill & Sidewalk Cafe in the Chestnut Hill Hotel.

“He is an absolutely incredible, wonderful young man,” insists owner Greg Welsh. “He is a joy to have around.”

Daniel, who has lived his entire life in the same Mt. Airy house he still lives in, graduated from Bishop McDevitt in 2010. “I am one to usually follow rules, so I didn’t have much trouble there,” he said. “The only thing I disliked was the uniforms, but that was such a small issue that it didn’t affect my schooling at all.”

An outstanding athlete, Rogers was captain of the JV soccer team in his sophomore year and started on the varsity team in his junior year. He also ran track in his sophomore year and participated in the 2007 Penn Relays on the 4×100 track team.

Anything but a slacker and definitely not surgically attached to a cell phone, Rogers has had numerous after-school and summer jobs — at Walmart in Willow Grove, Avenida restaurant in Mt. Airy for three years, at Giant in Flourtown and as a counselor for adolescents with Asperger’s Syndrome in a program called Pathways to Independence at Hilltop Prep School for the last four summers. He has even worked landscaping and construction jobs but “found that I am better at interacting with people.”

Rogers, an only child, currently has two semesters to go before obtaining his Associates Degree at Montgomery County Community College. He hopes to follow in the footsteps of his parents, god-parents and aunt, who have all had their own private practices in psychology. (His mother also has a law degree.)

“I think I have a great connection with people,” he said, “all people, not just one race or one social class but with everyone on some level because of the experiences I’ve been through and the lessons and experiences my family has shared with me.”

When Daniel applied for a job at Chestnut Grill, he was interviewed, and “the next thing I know I’m memorizing table numbers and menu items … The staff is very kind and helpful and understanding. If you have an issue, they deal with it at that time; it doesn’t have to wait till the end of the night or next week. So I really respect my managers and co-workers a lot.”

In his spare time Daniel likes to hang out with friends and share time with his mom “because to me she’s the smartest person in the world and always offers me guidance. I really don’t do much other than that except that right now I’m trying to get a car.”

Although he can’t play it any longer, Daniel is still a big soccer fan who watches games on TV of teams he never heard of “just to see the different styles of play each team and individual player has.” He is also a fan of all types of music from hip-hop to rock and r&b, “everything but country.” Some of his favorite performers are North Philadelphia rapper Meek Mills, Lil Wayne, Tove Lo and Rae Sremmurd. (Yes, folks; these are real names. You can Google them.)

“I don’t really go out to movies much or watch a lot of TV. I’m usually working or doing something with my family or friends. I don’t pay much attentions to new movies and shows anymore. The only one I do follow is ‘Orange Is the New Black.’”

One thing you cannot help but notice about Daniel is his tattoos — 25 in all. They all mean something personal, including words that he thinks describe him.

When asked what person on earth he would most like to meet, Rogers said, “Pro skater and business mogul Rob Dyrdek because he likes to do wild things, but he also gives a lot back to his community, which is inspiring. I wish I had more time to think of someone else because I would like to pick the brains and talk to a lot of people out there.”

More information about Chestnut Grill at 215-247-7570 or www.chestnuthillgrill.com.