No one was more anxious than Brad Ough.
The former Decatur resident flew in from Arizona Saturday in anticipation of Wednesday’s opening. He showed up early that morning, fish tent in tow, and camped on the restaurant’s new stoop, just one lot over from its previous location, which was razed to enlarge the parking lot.
“How appropriate – fishing for Casa Torres,” Ough said. “When I showed, the only person here was the plumber. He asked me what I was doing there, and I said, ‘Dude, I’m going to make sure I’m the first guy in line to have this great food. It’s long overdue.’ It was so much stinking fun and well worth the wait.”
After the ribbon was cut and the doors opened, Ough was the first to be seated – along with family and friends -and was served his usual, No. 17 – sour cream beef enchiladas.
“But their chicken fajitas are really good, too,” he pointed out. “And the people. You cannot beat these people. That’s what makes the place so good – the people who not only serve you such great food, but also serve you like friends and family. It’s such a gathering place. Going in there so often, these people became almost like family.”
Ough admitted to eating at the restaurant every day, sometimes twice a day when he lived here.
“My wife, Paula Jane, would ask me, ‘Don’t you get tired of it?,’” he recalled. “And I would say, ‘Nope. Not at all. Just watch – when we get to heaven, you’ll find that Casa Torres will be on the other side.’”
The family-owned and operated establishment served its last meal in its original locale July 28. The new storefront features a kitchen “practically double in size” along with 23 more tables.
A bigger parking lot now covers the ground on which the restaurant once stood.
Although Ough moved to the Grand Canyon State a year-and-a-half ago, he has made sure his three to four trips “home” included a stop at the restaurant.
And he kept in touch with Casa Torres’ owner, Jesus Torres, planning his next return around the grand opening of the 7,000-square-foot facility, which set a record in sales its first day of operation Wednesday, then broke that record again Thursday.
“I bought my (plane) ticket with the sole purpose of being the first guy at Casa Torres,” Ough said. “I was so stoked to have been the first. It felt as if I had won the lottery. Even moreso, considering the fact that I was surrounded by such great people.
“This is as good as it gets,” he continued. “To be eating something good and laughing and enjoying life. To me, that’s the ultimate joy. People spend so much money chasing happiness when it’s really the simple things in life that bring you the most joy – things like a plate of delicious enchiladas and great, treat-you-like-you’re-family service.”