Midland restaurant closes after 50 years in business due to owner diagnosed with cancer

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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 run 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 opened over half a century ago.

First as a waiter then several years later as an owner

“My dad loves people. It kind of rubs off on all of us. People would go back there and talk to him. Customers from three generations who like to talk to my father. Dad made time to stop, even during the lunch rush,” owner Eva Plummer said.

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

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

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

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

But one fateful day in May changed those plans.

“He came to the emergency room. They immediately took care of him. The next day they told us he had a brain tumor,” Plummer said.

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

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

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

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

“Even people I hadn’t seen for 15, 20 years who came here, who moved away. My father remembers each of them. We were amazed and grateful for the thoughts and prayers,” Plummer said.

Almost all of the family members have worked at Mario for some time in their life and many family reunions have taken place there.

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

“It’s hard to close the restaurant. Just coming here today when it’s closed, I feel like I’m about to open the doors any minute to so people can get in,” Plummer said.

Plummer says that in the future, Mario’s Spanish Inn might be sold to pay for his father’s medical bills.

But for now, she is focused on her care and the next stage of her life.

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