El Pavito marks 50 years in Moline


Share
Originally Posted Online: Sept. 27, 2012, 7:48 pm
Last Updated: Sept. 27, 2012, 8:16 pm
Comment on this story | Print this story | Email this story
By Dawn Neuses, dneuses@qconline.com

MOLINE -- There is one traditional answer Isabel Reyes offers customers at her Mexican restaurant who ask, "What is the special?"

She replies: "Everything."

Ms. Reyes, 78, and her husband, Matthew, 84, are marking the 50th anniversary of El Pavito on Saturday with a celebration of live music from noon to 2 p.m. and starting again at 5 p.m. Both still are involved with the Moline restaurant at 2715 Avenue of the Cities now managed by their son, Gerard Reyes, and great nephew, Tony Gonzales.

"Fifty years is a long time for anything," Ms. Reyes said with a smile, attributing the restaurant's long life to her mother. "We cook our food the same way my mom cooked it in 1962. Mom had a way of cooking.

"We keep the customers pleased with what they eat," she said, adding people who have moved away from the area come to El Pavito when they return and tell her how happy they are the restaurant still is there.

"Some of our customers have been coming for 40 years," she said.

Ms. Reyes' parents, Ponciano and Francica Olvera, opened the restaurant in 1962 at 1311 5th Ave., Moline. While Mr. Reyes was working full time, Ms. Reyes said she would go to the restaurant and help her mother make salsa, learning to cook like her mother.

Ms. Reyes said all of her seven siblings declined to take over El Pavito when her parents decided to retire in 1973. But Mr. Reyes accepted his mother-in-law's offer, and, because he had a full-time job, Ms. Reyes offered to "help" her husband.

"I am still here," she said.

Ms. Reyes helps at the restaurant six mornings per week. Mr. Reyes, who retired from Case IH in 1989, also is at the restaurant daily.

"I like it. I enjoy the people," Mr. Reyes said, adding he remembers many from downtown before El Pavito moved to its current location in 1976.

Ms. Reyes said her family always has been involved in the restaurant -- from nieces working in the back to her brother and nephew helping with renovations.

Even during trying times -- such as the late-1980s when the recession hurt several large manufacturing companies -- the restaurant has remained open.

"Business was great, then they closed," she said of the companies. "We have had our good times and our bad. Thank goodness the good times are back."




If you go:

What: El Pavito
Where: 2715 Avenue of the Cities, Moline
Hours: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Monday, Tuesday, Friday and Saturday; noon to 9 p.m. Wednesday; 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday. Closed Sunday.














 



Local events heading








  Today is Thursday, July 31, the 212th day of 2014. There are 153 days left in the year.

1864 -- 150 years ago: A corps of surgeons now occupies the new hospital quarters at the Garrison Hospital on the Rock Island Arsenal. A fence has been installed to enclose the prison hospital.
1889 -- 125 years ago: B. Winter has let a contract to Christ Schreiner for a two story brick building with a double store front on the south side of 3rd Avenue just west of 17th Street. The estimated cost was $4,500.
1914 -- 100 years ago: Germany sent simultaneous ultimatums to Russia and France, demanding that Russia suspend mobilization within 12 hours and demanding that France inform Germany within 18 hours. In the case of war between Germany and Russia, France would remain neutral.
1939 -- 75 years ago: Civil service offices at the post office and the Rock Island Arsenal were swamped as more than 700 youths sought 15 machinist apprenticeships at the Arsenal.
1964 -- 50 years ago: Last night, American Legion Post 246 in Moline figuratively handed over the trousers to a female ex-Marine and petticoat rule began. Olga Swanson, of Moline, was installed as the first woman commander of the post .
1989 -- 25 years ago: The Illinois Quad City Civic Center captured the excitement and interest of a convention of auditorium managers this weekend in Reno, Nev. Bill Adams, civic center authority chairman, said the 10,000-seat arena planned for downtown Moline has caught the eye of construction firms, suppliers, management teams and concession groups.








(More History)