Midland restaurant is closing after 50 years in business due to the owner being diagnosed with cancer

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MIDLAND, Texas (KOSA) – Midland’s Mario’s Spanish Inn restaurant is finally closing after more than 50 years in business.

George Enriquez and his daughter Eva Plummer have run Mario’s Spanish Inn together for several years.

After George was diagnosed with brain cancer last month, the decision to close the restaurant was a difficult one, but family comes first.

George Enriquez has been with Mario’s Spanish Inn since it opened more than half a century ago.

First as a waiter and then a few years later as the owner

“My father loves people. It kind of rubs off on all of us. People went back there and talked to him. Three generations of customers who just love talking to my dad. Dad made time to stop at lunchtime too,” said owner Eva Plummer.

Almost ten years ago, Enriquez and his wife made the decision to hand the restaurant over to their daughter Eva.

“They turned it over to me even though they’re still the boss,” Plummer said.

The plan was for everyone to retire from Mario’s over the next year.

Plummer says her dad was counting down the days to retirement…

But one fateful day in May changed those plans.

“He came to the emergency room. They accepted him immediately. The next day they told us he had a tumor in his brain,” Plummer said.

Enriquez was diagnosed with stage 4 glioblastoma…a very aggressive and rapidly growing form of brain cancer.

“His attitude is 100 percent, we can do this and we’re going to get through this, even if it’s not for long,” Plummer said.

In order to take care of Enriquez, the decision was made to permanently close Mario’s Spanish Inn.

Plummer announced the decision on Facebook earlier this week, and hundreds of people shared memories and wishes in the comments.

“Even from people I hadn’t seen in 15, 20 years, who used to come here, who moved away. My father remembers every single one of them. We were amazed and grateful for the thoughts and prayers,” said Plummer.

Almost every member of the family has worked at Mario’s at some point in their lives and many a family reunion has taken place there.

So it doesn’t just mean closing the doors of a popular Midland restaurant, it means saying goodbye to a piece of family history.

“It is difficult to close the restaurant. When I come here today when it’s closed, it feels like any moment I’m about to open the doors for people to walk in,” Plummer said.

Plummer says Mario’s Spanish Inn could be sold in the future to pay for her father’s medical bills.

But for now, she’s focused on taking care of him and embracing the next stage of life.

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