HOUSTON (FOX 26) - After a devastating fire forced it to close, the popular Cleburne Cafeteria reopened its doors on Friday.
"No more fires," said Cleburne Cafeteria owner George Mickelis to a very excited and hungry crowd. "This is it. Thank you so much for coming."
An electric fire on April 26, 2016 forced the business to close down for nineteen months of renovations.
"You know what they say, 'When you find yourself in hell, just keep walking,' and that's what I do," said Mickelis. "I'm so thankful to be back in business." And so is his mother, Patricia Mickelis.
"It's an achievement of my son which is double wonderful," says Patricia who, along with her husband, purchased Cleburne Cafeteria in the 1950s. "I'm very happy with it."
Since then, a member of the Mickelis family has been operating the Houston dining staple.
"It's just the atmosphere is always loving," said Debra Guerero, who was first in line for the grand reopening on Friday. "Memories. I'm not going to go emotional, but my mother passed away in June and this was like, our place, you know with family and friends. But you see George, he knows everybody. He loves everyone."
Cleburne Cafeteria will be open on Thanksgiving Day, operating during its normal business hours from 11 a.m. until 9 p.m. The cafeteria is now serving beer and wine and made-to-order steaks in the evening.
George Mickelis also expanded the dining hall and added both a patio and a private party room.