Morales had been without a store or restaurant for three years when Diana McLennan decided to open the Morales Store  – the only business operating in the once thriving town.

"I was tired of working in an office," she said. "My husband asked what I was going to do and I said, 'I think I am going to open up the Morales Store. It was on a whim.'"

The business was far from new when McLennan opened her doors a decade ago. Originally built in the 1860s, the Morales Store tradition has been carried on by several owners in different locations.

Aside from its history, the store's half-pound burgers are its claim to fame. The patties are made fresh daily in-house, McLennan said.

Homemade chicken salad sandwich and tacos are also a hit, she said. 

Though the Morales Store has changed hands over the years and been recreated in different buildings, the quiet, simple atmosphere has remained the same. If you arrive during lunch or dinner time on any given day, you'll find yourself at the center of a laid-back community gathering. 

"We couldn't have done it without the people out here in the Morales community," McLennan said. "They support us 100%, but we've got people that regularly come from all the surrounding towns."

Hunters making their way to nearby leases or property arrive like clockwork during hunting seasons, McLennan said.

"You remember them every time you see them or at least you try to," she said.

Kali Venable is a public safety reporter for the Victoria Advocate. She can be reached at 361-580-6558 or at

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Investigative & Environmental Reporter

"I am a Houston native and 5th generation Texan, with a degree in journalism and minor in creative writing from the University of Texas at Austin. I care deeply about public interests and the community I serve.”

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