83 years later, Cafe Texan in downtown Huntsville has always been a destination for locals and tourists from the Lone Star State, because the oldest cafe in Texas has remained in place and has never been closed until now.
“It was a real tragedy that we had to close it,” said John Strickland, owner of Cafe Texan. “When I closed it due to COVID-19, I did not intend to close it permanently.”
Strickland announced the permanent closure of Cafe Texan on his company’s Facebook page on Wednesday morning. This news shocked many people.
The cafe owner chose to remain closed for most of the past five months to protect the safety of the customer base, which is mainly composed of senior citizens and employees. However, in due course, Strickland has everything to open up.
The demise of Cafe Texan happened quickly because of the effort to save some money every month when the restaurant was empty. It started with a request for the city to remove a trash bin, which would cost about $400 a month outside the building. According to Strickland, he was told that the water in the building had to be shut off before the garbage bin could be removed.
“When I turned off the water, they thought this place was closed, and by then it was not a grandfather, which meant that to reopen it, I would have to spend about $80,000 on the kitchen,”
In the past few months, Strickland has spent nearly $40,000 to maintain the livelihoods of its employees. Because of the coronavirus and construction difficulties on 12th Street, this historic restaurant has been closed. A complete overhaul of the kitchen will make his budget exceed expectations.
“This is really sad because it has been a part of the community for 83 years,” Strickland said. “When I bought it in 1996, our greatest World War II veterinarian was in the 70s, so I saw that most of Huntsville’s greatest generation had passed away. They have been in coffee all their lives. The museum comes in and out, because the cafe has been there for a lifetime. It’s nice to meet people, most of them are an important part of the community.”
This cafe has changed hands several times throughout its history, and has a history of 20 years. During this time, Strickland can enjoy what he calls “Huntsville’s melting pot”, this is the residence of everyone, from ordinary citizens to movers and shaky people, can help shape this City.
“After I bought it in 2001 or early 2002, a man has been (serving) Iraq and then returned to Huntsville… At about 2 am, on Sam Houston Avenue, he watched When he reached the red and blue Cafe Texan sign, he said, “I think I am at home. “Strickland recalled.
Strickland has sold the building to a buyer, intending to turn the space into a downtown museum, which may contain a small sandwich and candy store. Although Strickland would prefer to see this historic cafe operated under a different ownership, he is glad that the buyer agreed to use the neon sign dating back to 1936 as a beacon for the houses in the Huntsville community.