Victorian takes over as manager at Rosebud Fountain & Grill
Aug. 30, 2014 at 3:21 p.m.
Updated Sept. 1, 2014 at 2:47 p.m.
Food is a big part of Baldemar Gonzalez's daily routine.
Especially now that he manages the Rosebud Fountain and Grill.
When he heard the restaurant was considering closing, he and his wife, Patricia Albrecht, stepped up to the challenge of keeping it open.
"You can't close a place that's been here forever," Gonzalez, of Victoria, said. "I didn't want to see it close."
Since the first of the year, he worked with Denise McCue, owner of the restaurant, to take over the operation.
"He's doing a great job at the restaurant," McCue, of Victoria, said about Gonzalez. "I think it will only get better."
He has worked to transform the restaurant into what he hopes will become - once again - a downtown destination for diners.
Gonzalez knows food.
In addition to his new role as manager for Rosebud, Gonzalez owns and operates the L&L Grill inside Palace Bingo. He took over the restaurant five years ago when the previous owner sold it and now splits his time between both restaurants to make sure his diners are satisfied.
He doesn't mind the extra work.
"It makes me happy to see people are enjoying themselves. It's just something I do, and I like to do it."
He also remembers years ago when the cafe was a pharmacy.
The Victoria native remembers a time before Rosebud was here and the space was Bianchi's Pharmacy, which when it closed in 1997 was the oldest pharmacy in Texas.
The pharmacy building was built in 1847 and operated as a pharmacy. In 1968 it became Bianchi's Pharmacy.
He remembers coming to the pharmacy as a child with his parents. Back then, he said, the restaurant was where the kitchen is located.
Rosebud opened in November 2000.
Gonzalez has made a few changes to the prices and items on the menu. He believes that if prices are more affordable, then more customers will come in to dine.
Old favorites of hamburgers, chicken fried steak, fried pickles and daily specials remain on the menu.
Not everything has changed. Gonzalez has no plans to give the restaurant a facelift.
The Coca-Cola, Dr Pepper signs and colorful furniture are iconic of Rosebud.
"It stands out. Where else are you going to go and find decor like this?"
Gonzalez believes he and his wife are perfect for the job of running the downtown restaurant.
"It's just how you do it. If you know what you're doing, you can succeed. My wife and I came in here with confidence, and I think it's working out great."
They have set realistic expectations.
"It's never going to be perfect. In this business, you can never make everyone happy. "But he is hoping for the best.
"I want to make this place the best place to eat downtown and the best place to go for live music and dinner. ... I hope to have it for a long time and own it one day."