Restaurant co-owner hospitalized, business moves forward

JR Ortega By JR Ortega

March 31, 2010 at 6:04 p.m.
Updated March 31, 2010 at 11:01 p.m.

Zane Steininger's get well album sports on its cover a drawing words of encouragement by his daughter Kara, 7 and son, Zane III.

Zane Steininger's get well album sports on its cover a drawing words of encouragement by his daughter Kara, 7 and son, Zane III.

An energy has been missing from The Mustang Bar and Grill for the past three weeks.

Country music blares from the flat-screen television above the bar but co-owner Zane Steininger's charisma, personality and spirit are not there.

Instead, he remains at The University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston fighting off body swelling and a bacterial infection, his sister Mindy Steininger, of Arlington, said in a phone interview.

On March 9, Steininger fell at work and hit the back of his head and that's when it all began, she said.

"Every day is a different obstacle his body has to overcome," she said. "He's an unbelievable man. The most important things in his life are his children, family and business."

As of Tuesday, he remained in the hospital's medical intensive care unit.

Tiffany Pucciarello, a 20-year-old waitress at the grill, has worked for Steininger since January and knows how much the business means to him, she said.

"He is the most energetic, fun-filled boss I could work for," she said of the 37-year-old Victoria man. "It was shocking that something like that would happen to him."

Pucciarello has seen his dedication every time he's walked in the door, she said.

"He works himself down. He's a hardworker," she said.

Lunchtime nears Tuesday and Pucciarello is happy to see a lunch rush begin to pick up.

"We all know what he wants," she said about Steininger's wishes. "He wants the business to keep kicking."

Meanwhile, at the bar, Jamie Parker flips through a photo-album-turned-get-well-soon album.

Parker and his wife, Vanessa, Steininger's cousin, decided to stop by the restaurant for lunch to honor Steininger's wishes.

"It was unexpected," he said about what happened to Steininger. "It was shocking to everyone."

For Steininger, life is all about music, dancing and just having fun, Parker's wife said.

"He would be the life of the party," she said. "The cousin group is pretty close."

Zane Steininger's daughter, Kara, 7, and son, Zane III, 4, have taken their father's condition fairly well, Steininger's cousin said.

Kara has greater trouble understanding what happened because she's older than Zane III, she said.

Steininger's sister is sure the get well album will be waiting at the bar and grill for him, just like his friends, family and loyal customers, she said.

The front page of the album is filled with a stick-figure drawing of Steininger holding a guitar with a smile on his face.

"The biggest, strongest, bravest daddy ever," it reads.



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