Saturday, June 7, 2008

Memories of Tina's Pizza and Steak

One day at work I was surprised by a maintenance man who said he visited a new restaurant and that the owner asked him to say hello to me. He could not remember her last name and the description he gave did not help so I felt obligated to find out who this person was. When I entered Tina's I recognised her right away as an old employee who worked for me years ago when she was in high school. I knew her mom and dad real well but I never kept up with what Tina was doing. I remember hearing she had gotten married to a Mexican gentleman and they had several kids but I never expected to see her running a restaurant.

Tina and her husband Saul rented the old Denny's location on Texas Ave. and completely renovated the seating area. I had learned from conversations from Saul that he had worked at George's for many years while it was on the Business Loop. The menu at Tina's was greatly influenced by George's as almost everything offered was the same. As the months went by I noticed that the menu was changing as Mexican dishes were added and I felt Tina's seemed to be breaking away from the Greek style pizza places it resembled when it first opened.

I found the food there first rate with the pizza being outstanding. I always ordered the House Special which was a traditional Greek style pizza but piled high with toppings. It was awesome!
My kids would always order the Chicken Alfredo dish and loved it. I also tried several of their Mexican dishes which I felt was excellent but the serving size was too big. The last time I went there the place was full and it took a long time to get my food. Poor Saul was cooking by himself and was having a hard time keeping up. The food was still good but it just took a long time to get it. Soon after my last visit I heard Tina's had closed and I felt sad because they tried really hard to make it a go. I had known that the old Denny's location was in bad shape before they opened their restaurant. People in the food industry share stories of old restaurants and problems they had. The Denny's location had multiple physical problems and even though Tina and her husband fixed the seating area there were other problems behind the scenes. High costs and taxes probably added to the problems.

In a conversation I had with Saul he told me of his life in Mexico and how hard it was to become successful there. He came to this country and worked hard for a long time but had faith in the American dream that so many immigrants before him shared. He eventually got his citizenship, married, had children and opened his own restaurant. I have not talked to Saul since the restaurant closed down but I believe he will be back. He helped revive my faith in this country and how good we have it. We sometimes forget how blessed we are until we talk to someone like him who appreciates those things we take for granted.

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