SAN ANTONIO – Even as firefighters were trying to put out stubborn hot spots in what was left of a still smoldering Jacala Mexican restaurant, Cynthia Lambert, one of its co-owners, had reason to hope.
“Out of all this nightmare that we have and our hearts are broken,” Lambert said she’d been contacted by the owners of La Fogata restaurants, offering jobs for her 40 employees.
“With the shifts that they want or whatever they want,” Lambert said. “That’s the only blessing and it’s a Godsend.”
She said the welfare of their employees was a huge concern, especially those like Richard Galvan.
“This my home, my second home,” Galvan said. “I’ve been here 68 years working at Jacala.”
He was a teenager when he started as a busboy in the 1950′s. Now Galvan is in his 80′s.
Like always, Galvan had arrived for work at 7 a.m. Thursday, only to see the restaurant surrounded by firefighters.
He asked one of them, “What’s going on?”
Galvan was told there was a small fire inside, but the flames were growing higher and higher.
On the near Northwest Side in the 600 block of West Ave., since 1959, the building had several additions through the years.
A spokesman with the San Antonio Fire Department said the different attic spaces and roofs on top of each other made it difficult to fight the fire.
Cindy Martinez, a loyal Jacala customer, also came to see for herself the restaurant where she and her family from Dallas had dinner the day before the fire.
“There are no words. We’ve been coming here for years,” Martinez said.
Lambert said she’s seen so many messages from customers like Martinez.
“Facebook is going crazy,” she said. “Thank you, thank you, public. I do thank you.”
However, Lambert said it’s still too soon to say what will happen now to her family’s restaurant.