The restaurant has changed ownership several times, General Manager Justin Zurcher said, but regular customers continue to visit, and many in the community found their first job at the eatery, including Zurcher. When Fred Valdez bought the restaurant in 2004, he converted a banquet room into a dining space, updated the bar and expanded the menu to offer more unique items in addition to the classics, Zurcher said. Valdez also added a new drive-thru, and Zurcher said to-go orders accounted for approximately 30% of business before the coronavirus pandemic. After restaurants were ordered to close for dine-in service, Valdez and Zurcher decided to close the dining room two days before the order was to go into effect.
“Fred and I just kind of looked at each other and we decided: ‘Safety above everything ... so let’s go ahead and shut down,’” Zurcher said. “Little did we know that that day the entire town was gonna show up.”
The restaurant’s to-go system was not robust enough to support the number of orders received during the first weekend of the closure, Zurcher said. “Our core customers were waiting so long for their food, and they were so patient and amazing, but we didn’t give the usual service that we like,” Zurcher said. “We closed that Sunday ... and we developed a plan of attack and changed the way that we did things.” The restaurant developed an online ordering system and offered an abbreviated menu to keep up with costs, which has continued even when the dining room reopened at limited capacity.
Though the menu is limited, customers may still order classic steak fajitas or one of the newer items that include vegan enchiladas, Zurcher said, and added he hopes continued distancing and cleaning will allow the restaurant to stay open.
“We have customers that have been coming in here since they were kids,” Zurcher said. “What I’m most excited for is to have the customers come back. ... It’ll be really exciting to be able to see some of those regular faces again.”
124 S. Business IH 35, New Braunfels
Sun.-Thurs. 11 a.m.-9 p.m.
Fri.-Sat. 11 a.m.-10 p.m.