Midland restaurant closes after 50 years in business due to owner’s cancer diagnosis

Mario’s Spanish Inn restaurant in Midland is permanently closing its doors after more than 50 years in business.
Published: Jun. 21, 2022 at 11:09 PM CDT
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MIDLAND, Texas (KOSA) - Mario’s Spanish Inn restaurant in Midland is permanently closing its doors after more than 50 years in business.

George Enriquez and his daughter Eva Plummer have been running Mario’s Spanish Inn together for several years.

After George was diagnosed with brain cancer last month, the decision to close the restaurant was difficult, but family comes first.

George Enriquez has been a part of Mario’s Spanish Inn since it first opened more than half a century ago.

First as a waiter and then several years later as the owner

“My dad loves people. That’s kind of rubbed off on all of us. People would go back there and talk to him. Customers that are three generations and they just like talking to my dad. Dad would take the time to stop, even during the lunch rush,” said owner Eva Plummer.

Nearly ten years ago, Enriquez and his wife made the decision to pass the restaurant on to their daughter, Eva.

“They handed it over to me, even though they’re still the boss,” said Plummer.

The plan was for everyone to retire from Mario’s next year.

Plummer says her dad was counting down the days to retirement…

But one fateful day in may changed those plans.

“He got to the emergency room. They immediately took him in. By the next day they told us that he had a tumor in his brain,” said Plummer.

Enriquez was diagnosed with stage 4 glioblastoma…a very aggressive and fast-growing form of brain cancer.

“His outlook is 100 percent, we can do this and we’re going to get through this even if it’s not for long,” said Plummer.

In order to care for Enriquez, the decision was made to close Mario’s Spanish Inn permanently.

Plummer announced the decision on Facebook earlier this week and hundreds of people shared memories and well wishes in the comments.

“Even from people I hadn’t seen in 15, 20 years that used to come here, that moved away. My dad remembers every one of them. We were amazed and thankful for the thoughts and the prayers,” said Plummer.

Almost every family member has worked at Mario’s during some time in their lives and many a family gathering was held there.

So, it’s not just closing the doors on a beloved Midland restaurant, but saying goodbye to piece of family history.

“It’s hard closing the restaurant. Just by coming here today when it’s closed, it feels like i’m about to open the doors any minute for people to walk in,” said Plummer.

Plummer says that in the future, Mario’s Spanish Inn may be sold to pay for her father’s medical expenses.

But for now, she’s focused on caring for him and taking on the next stage of life.

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