Longtime customers & employees share memories of Gilbert's El Charro

Longtime customers & employees share memories of Gilbert's El Charro

TYLER (KYTX) - Jim and Susie Deason were just two young people, getting to know each other, the first time they had dinner at Gilbert's El Charro restaurant.

"We went there for our first date, it was December 10th, 1965," said Susie Deason.

They had both eaten at the Tyler mexican restaurant as kids after it opened it's doors in 1943, but this was their first time together.

"I ordered a chicken friend steak because that's just what I always got. Jim was afraid I didn't like the choice of restaurants because I had chicken fried steak and not mexican food," laughed Susie.

Despite Susie's choice, 45 years later, they're still together.

"I knew at that time I was going to marry him," said Susie.

Friday, customers were greeted by a sign on the front door at the 5th street location that thanked them for creating wonderful memories.

But, the owners had decided it was time to move on at both locations, including the one on Erwin street.

"Things just can't last forever, no matter how good they are," said Jenny Russell.

Jenny Russell was the face you saw at the front door at El Charro on 5th street up until two years ago.

"No matter what was going on,on any day, differences aside, the customer always came first," said Russell. 

She believes that's what led to such a loyal customer base.

Jim and Susie do, too. Even after their first date, they celebrated anniversaries, birthdays, and graduations at El Charro....and Susie tried something else besides the chicken fried steak.

"We can now do the enchiladas, which wound up being our favorite," said Susie.

I asked if the restaurant had anything to do with them falling in love.

"Well, maybe....we did have many happy times there," said Susie and Jim.





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