Eatery options growing in Cuero
Feb. 21, 2012 at 6:04 p.m.
Updated Feb. 21, 2012 at 8:22 p.m.
CUERO - Martina Shanks sat on the patio of the Hard Hat Cafe.
"We'll be ready," said the owner of the soon-to-open restaurant on North Esplanade Street in Cuero, a nervous smile crossing her face. "There is still work to do, but we'll be ready."
What Shanks will be ready for is the restaurant's official ribbon-cutting ceremony at 4:30 p.m. Thursday and the first day of business on Saturday.
Shanks plans to keep the restaurant open 24 hours a day to take advantage of activity in the oil and gas industry in the area.
"Randy Saenz told me that Cuero was growing and would be a good place to invest. We did our market research and feel like this is the place to be," Shanks said.
Saenz formerly owned the Philly Station restaurant at that location, 901 N. Esplanade St.
In addition to 24-hour service with a drive-through window, the Hard Hat Cafe will feature American and Mexican food, said Shanks.
"Also, there will be no waitresses. You place your order, and pick up your order at the counter," she said. "Our goal will be to have each meal out in five minutes."
Hard Hat Cafe in Cuero will be the first for Shanks, who plans to open a restaurant by the same name in Kenedy, another place where Eagle Ford Shale activity also is spurring the local economy.
Cuero's restaurant facelift began with the opening of Ruby's Diner, 310 S. Esplanade St., the opening of Longbranch Steakhouse., 1000 S. Esplanade St. in a building that has undergone many transformations, most recently a Mexican food restaurant, and the ongoing remodeling of the former Landmark Restaurant, 601 N. Esplanade St.
Business has been good since Gina and Jode Zavesky opened the doors of the 50-seat Ruby's Diner on Jan. 3.
"We've been extremely busy. It's something we had talked about doing for about three years," said Zavesky.
Last August, everything fell into place and the front of the American Legion building became available.
"Basically she told me to either do it or shut up," laughed Zavesky, who is also the county sheriff.
The back of the Legion building continues to be used for meetings and other events and is available for rental from the Legion.
Inside the restaurant, one wall is adorned with photographs of local veterans, and one is the "Worthington Wall."
Worthington, Minn., is Cuero's sister city that enters Paycheck every year against Ruby Begonia in the Great Gobbler Gallop.
"We've already had some people from Worthington come in who winter in South Texas," Zavesky said.
The visitors signed the Worthington Wall.
"The Ruby's Diner menu is good home cooking," said Zavesky. "We don't have an extravagant menu. We have had customers tell us that it's like mamma used to cook."
Shanks may take note of that.
"We're going to have the best margaritas in town," she said.