ROCKPORT – Billy Jack Williams always orders the same sandwich at Pink Octopus Cafe.
Williams and his wife, Betty, dine at the Rockport restaurant several times a week. After months of ordering the same meal – a variation on the turkey sandwich, with extra chips – the staff at Pink Octopus decided to make it simpler to send Williams’ order to the kitchen. They created a “BJ” button, complete with Williams’ photo, on their cash register so it took just one click to take down their loyal customers’ order.
“It just tickles me to death,” Williams said. “Of course, they do that for everybody.”
Attention to their customers is at the heart of the restaurant, which serves lunch, coffee and frozen yogurt. The restaurant first opened in 2015, and current owner Melissa Solis bought it in May. Solis moved to Rockport after years of childhood vacations there with her family and, later in life, important moments in the beach town, such as getting engaged to and marrying her husband.
Solis said she bought the restaurant with plans to preserve its biggest asset: the community.
“The heart of Pink Octopus is our customers,” Solis said.
Jaimee Fojt, the cafe’s manager, said she makes it a point to greet everyone who walks through the door, most of whom she knows by name.
Although the restaurant caters to the tourists who are returning to Rockport as it rebuilds after Hurricane Harvey, the core of their customer base are locals, like a group of women who come every week to eat lunch and then camp out for hours afterward to play mahjong, said Solis and Fojt.
“People love it because they feel like they’re home; I’ve heard it time and time again,” Fojt said. “We make people feel welcome.”
The lunch menu features fresh, handmade sandwiches and paninis, plus an extensive salad bar.
The coffee selection uses fresh grounds from Amaya Roasting in Houston and features the cafe’s signature drink, the turtle bite, which mixes chocolate, caramel and pecan with coffee, Fojt said.
In addition to the extensive toppings available at the frozen yogurt bar, the cafe also makes fresh cinnamon rolls and the “Blue Bar,” a crumbly pastry made with blueberries and oatmeal.
“We make people feel welcome,” Fojt said.