Saturday, March 22, 2014


I've been surprised to find that I have never written about Luminarias, the restaurant I worked at right after High School, that got me started well underway towards being a chef.
I started working there as a busboy in May of 1975, the day after I graduated High School. I ended up Head Chef a few years later.
Luminarias was a new restaurant in 1975, and had become famous for being hard to find, but once you got there the view of downtown Fort Worth was spectacular from the side of a hill east of town. and the food was new California Continental cuisine, Prime Ribs, Paella and Black Bean Soup. it was quite a change from typical Fort Worth's Chicken Fried Steak and green beans offerings.
They had patios on the hillside facing downtown, and a bar, and huge firepits on the patios, and Fort Worths finest folks would sit down there eating nachos and drinking Margaritas.
The entrance has a gurgling waterfall, and a little river that you passed over on two footbridges. The parking lot and entry were lined with paper bags weighted with sand with candles in them, ergo "Luminarias".
Once inside, you had rustic decor with all sorts of artifacts that hung on the wall, candle lit tables with cloth napkins, and pretty young waitresses in bustiers and extremely short skirts that tossed tableside your Granada Salad with the house Honey Mustard.

Every time the millionaire owner would fly in from California I would tease him that he ought to know better than to build a California restaurant on the side of a Texas hill. And he'd laugh at me. Of course he laughed; I was an 18 year old punk masquerading as Americas Next Master Chef, and he was David Tallichet, Millionaire, collector of of WWII planes, and Very Successful Restaurateur.
He explainded to me the pillars that held the foundation were bored down 80 feet and into the bedrock, and his restaurant would hold firm on that Texas Hill.
"Its not the restaurant you need to worry about" I told him "Its the damn hill"

Then two years later, I came in one morning after it had been raining for days, got my cup of coffee , went over to the window to look at downtown before starting work (which I did every day) and I got to the window at looked down and the patios were covered up in a mudslide and half the hill was gone.
I just had to laugh.

Somewhere, there is a leggy ex-waitress with a branding iron in the shape of a heart I pulled off the wall. If you see her say hello, kiss her once for me."



soubriquet said...

So of course, I looked up David Tallichet, what an interesting story he was.

Did he ever tell you his stories?

Bulletholes said...

Hey Soub! I'm glad you looked him up. I was going to leave a link, but I've gotten to be such a lazy blogger!
And no, he never told me any of his stories. He didnt come around much, and when he did he was spending his time with the GM, not the fry cook.

Anonymous said...

Waitressed there for 2 years , the patio view was amazing but carrying those margarita laden trays up and down that hill in that shorter than short skirt was hell ..... ahh but the tips were wonderful !