The Brownsville Herald made a simple announcement Friday concerning the closure of Luby's Restaurant on Boca Chica Blvd. Thursday. The announcement was accompanied with a photo by Jared Hoekema.
My first meal at that Luby's location was in 1966, accompanied by Victor Cox, an engineer at Union Carbide. I remember Victor suggesting I leave something "on the plate" to look "rich." I ignored his advice.
Nena and I missed Luby's when we moved to Arkansas in 1970, but Nena's dad, Manuel Perez, brought the whole family together for a meal there each year when we came back to Brownsville for a visit.(Nena's dad reminds me in some ways of retired local teacher Dagoberto Barrera. Born in Ciudad Victoria, Manuel served 30 years in the U.S. Army, then another 15 in Border Patrol. He was an absolute patriot, insisting only English be spoken in his home, although his English was considerably broken.)
When we retired in 2004 and returned to the area, it was obvious that this Luby's location was in decline. The building had a musty smell and looked shopworn. The menu had declined, replacing some freshly cooked vegetables with rice and pasta dishes. A request for mantequilla to the server would bring only soft margarine in plastic containers. Our favorite seating area, in the back room next to the bougainvillea was frequently blocked.
We saw this day coming, but it's still very sad.