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Home of the 'Texas Hot' on the market

August 08, 2005|by RICHARD F. BELISLE

waynesboro@herald-mail.com

Unless somebody buys the John Wallace Kitchen, the "Texas Hot," a downtown Waynesboro Epicurean delight, soon will fade into history.

The "family-style" eatery at 81 W. Main St., closes its doors Aug. 14, Richard Cook, its owner since 1994, said Friday.

Cook said he bought the restaurant from the Papsoutsis family, which started it in the 1960s.

The restaurant is for sale.

"Several people have expressed an interest, but there's nothing solid yet," he said.

Asked why he's going out of business, Cook, 55, said it's because, "Waynesboro's downtown is dying."

Most of his customers are elderly residents. Many live in Trinity House Apartments, a senior housing complex in Waynesboro, he said.

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Cook's future plans are uncertain.

"I'm sending out rsums and I'm considering going back to school, maybe for a nursing degree," he said.

He said he's also tired of working 15 to 16 hours a day.

The restaurant has 13 employees, Cook said, including four who work full time.

"Some have already found other jobs," he said.

April Sentz, 37, has worked at John Wallace Kitchen for more than 10 years. Recently married, she said she has no immediate plans.

"I don't know. I guess I'll look for another job," she said.

"It's hard," she said of the closing. "You get to know people pretty well. They wonder where they'll go now. Some want my phone number so they can keep in touch. You really get close to people in here. I'm hoping new owners will buy it and it will stay open."

A few regulars were dining Friday afternoon.

Among them were Charles and Dixie Eccard from Wolfsville in Frederick County, Md., about 12 miles from Waynesboro. He's 78 and she's 75.

"We've been coming here for about five years, maybe longer," he said.

"We come two or three times a week," she said.

Charles Eccard favors the prime rib.

"I'm a retired farmer. I could eat it three times a week," he said.

Dixie was eating chicken tenders.

"I usually stick to the soup," she said. "They make good soup here."

"We have no idea where we'll go," Dixie Eccard said. "We usually come here around 2 p.m. This is lunch and dinner for us."

"We go to the Parlor House on Wednesdays for the potpie," she said. "I hope somebody buys this place."

Cook described a Texas Hot as a grilled hot dog on a bun with mustard and a secret sauce he might be willing to share with a new owner to keep the downtown eating tradition alive.

Other menu favorites are the John Wallace crab cakes and the seafood platter, Cook said.

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