ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – After decades of serving Mexican cuisine to the Abilene community, El Fenix Café is closing down.
Owner Olivia Velez says she took over when her mother retired.
“I decided I wanted to continue the business so I continued it on, so I ran it for 49 years,” said Velez.
And now she is ready to retire, too.
“I was hoping that my son and my daughter-in-law would take over, but they’re ready to go, too,” said Velez.
The news broke the hearts of many regular customers, like Rick Edington, who has been going for 20 years.
“Weekly and twice a week sometimes, weekends breakfast,” said Edington.
It was sad news for former employee Kristin Mitchell.
“It’s sad, I count Olivia and Robert as family, I’ve always counted Olivia as like a second mom to me,” said Mitchell.
The community rushed in to get their last meals, which meant a lot to Olivia.
“I’m just going to miss everyone so much, I have so many customers who have been with me for so long, so loyal,” said Velez.
While the restaurant is closing now, Olivia says it may not be forever.
“And who knows, maybe in six months or so I’m back, my daughter or someone, maybe my son changes his mind, and we’ll be back. It would be wonderful, but right now I just need to retire,” said Velez.
Velez says they will still own the businesses in the back that they call Burro Alley, but she is still hopeful a family member will take over the café that Abilene holds so dearly.