TEXAS CITY — Fork & Spoon Coffee Shop waitress Sally Coston said goodbye to a man she calls Grandpa Saturday morning.
Pete Ortiz isn’t really her grandfather, but she’s waited on him every Wednesday since she started working at the restaurant eight years ago and considers him family.
Coston has watched Ortiz’s daughter, who now has three kids, grow up. One of them, too young to pronounce Coston’s name, calls her Owy.
Saturday was the last day for the Fork & Spoon, a Texas City fixture at 902 Sixth St. N. The establishment has served as a meeting place for friends and family for decades and as the foundation for many close relationships, some even between waitstaff and customers.
Coston said saying goodbye to her regulars was like saying goodbye to family.
“It was like a funeral,” she said.
The Gibbys are also some of Coston’s regulars. She would always give Karin Gibby’s grandkids a lollipop after breakfast. Saturday morning, Coston gave the kids, ages 3, 2 and 1, a whole bag of Dum Dums so they’d remember her.
“That was the whole flavor of the restaurant,” Gibby said.
“Not to forget the little touches that were important.”
Gibby and her family always sat in the same place, the next to the last table near the wall on the far side of the restaurant. She said she would miss the people the most.
“It was kind of like ‘Cheers,’” she said. “Everybody knew your name and everybody was glad to see you. (It was) home cooking and friendly on the side.”
RuthAnn Alsup, owner of Fork & Spoon, said she’s in talks with a couple of buyers but doesn’t know whether that will pan out.
“We wish somebody would just come in here and take it over and run it like us or even better than we ever did,” Alsup said. “We’d just like to see it open and carry on.”
Coston doesn’t have another job lined up yet, and she said she hopes that the staff gets to stay if someone does decide to buy the restaurant.
“RuthAnn took me in Valentine’s Day of 2007, and I’ve been here ever since,” she said.
“I don’t know if I want to go anywhere else,” she said.