The demolition of the Mexican restaurant Jacala has been halted to recover memorabilia spared from the fire


SAN ANTONIO – Demolition of the iconic Jacala Mexican restaurant was halted on Friday while crews searched the building ravaged by Thursday’s massive fire.

Among the precious finds, a few menus with a photo of Rudy and Del Quinones, who founded the restaurant in 1949.

Their daughters, Cynthia Lambert and Lucille Hooker, gently held the soaked and soot- and mud-stained menus.

Hooker said his parents would say, “We’re very proud of how long you’ve had him. We are proud of what you have done. We are proud of what he has become in the community.

Several photos were also spared, including one of Governor Greg Abbott and his family, as well as a group photo of the owners and others at a table enjoying margaritas after a busy Mother’s Day at the restaurant .

“The memories are amazing that are here,” Hooker said.

For example, Lambert said she remembered a young woman who ended up coming for her last meal before planning to kill herself.

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After overhearing people at a nearby table talking about the goodness of life, when the woman was done, Lambert said she left a note saying, “I was going to go home and kill myself. And after hearing these people speak, I changed my mind.

Hooker said someone called Friday to reserve a table for 50 people, only to be told the restaurant had burned down.

She said the woman was “heartbroken, heartbroken, just heartbroken.”

Lambert said the day of the fire remains unclear, but she will always be remembered for the outpouring of love and support from customers and even other restaurants.

La Fogata called the day of the fire by offering jobs to the 40 employees of Jacala.

Hooker said he wants to “hire everyone at 100% to 100% of their salary.”

As a board member of the San Antonio Restaurant Association, Hooker said, “They all called me, reached out, said if there’s no room there- low, we would take them.”

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Lambert said it was further proof of what Jacala means to the community.

“Our hearts are broken, but you all came together and hugged us all,” she said.

They said the restaurant was insured, but it’s too early to say if the restaurant will reopen.

Lambert said, “We kind of have to dust ourselves off and see where we’re going.”

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