John Madden’s special relationship with West Texas restaurant, family

Published: Jan. 8, 2022 at 8:36 AM CST
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VAN HORN, Texas (KOSA) - Sports and music paraphernalia adorn the walls of Chuy’s 1959 in Van Horn, but none hold such a prominent place as John Madden.

As the story goes, in 1987, the madden cruiser stumbled upon Chuy’s off I-10 while searching for a working TV to watch Monday Night Football.

“He pulled over and asked the bus driver, ‘There’s a place that says TV,’” said Paul Uranga, Chuy’s son and current owner. “So the bus drove down, and he said, ‘Seems like a decent place.’”

Madden immediately hit it off with Paul’s father, then-owner Chuy Uranga.

“He built this good rapport, my dad did—they both did together,” Paul said. “And they just became closer and closer as the years moved on.”

Years turned into decades. During that time, the relationship extended well beyond food.

“[Madden] goes, ‘Would you mind if I—I have my show the ‘All Madden’ and I want to build a Haul of Fame, and I’d like to film a segment of it in your restaurant,” Paul said.

That Haul of Fame, as well as a special table for Madden, became a tourist attraction.

It might be the goofy personality that made Madden so beloved, but it’s the love Madden showed Chuy that Paul remembers most.

When Chuy was severely injured in a car accident in 2010, Madden found Chuy’s hospital and checked in to make sure he was ok.

“To this day, I don’t know how he found out,” Paul said. “But for him to take the time out of his very busy schedule to do that from Oakland, San Francisco, to take the time to call and do that. It means a lot.”

And since Madden’s death at age 85 last week, all that’s left are the memories. And the answer everyone is looking for is what happens to the Haul of Fame?

“I don’t know,” Paul said. “I don’t know. That’s a good question.”

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