Two of my favorite relatives are my cousins, Danny and Patty Seitz and I’m always happy when they come back to Peoria and make time to have lunch and hang out with me. It’s become somewhat of a blog tradition here, the first time we did this we went to the original Chef and the Baker restaurant. Then last year I upped the ante a little and arranged for a school lunch at the building that used to be Spalding High School, because that’s where Danny graduated from.
Danny grew up in West Peoria, so I thought this year we’d have lunch at my favorite Mexican restaurant in that area and then take him and Patty on a little memory-stirring Seitz Seeing Tour of West Peoria. This adventure took place on Labor Day and it started right out in the MBIP World Headquarters parking lot.
There they are out in the parking lot, the guests of honor, Danny and Patty Seitz! Always a treat to see them and no sooner do I snap the photo and whoosh, we are off and headed to West Peoria!
The first stop is lunch and maybe a beer or two at El Zarape. If you’re looking for authentic Mexican food in West Peoria, look no further than El Zarape!
Since it’s Labor Day and a lot of people were cooking out, we had the place to ourselves! Our lovely waitress, Blanca wasted no time in delivering us some salsa, chips and bottles of Dos Equis. I snapped a photo of Danny and Patty and then abandoned them to get my MBIP photos! Hey, it’s what I do!
Here’s a shot from the back of the dining room and I love the El Zarape cactus! Blanca’s busy back at the cash register and there’s just some of the daily specials offered in here.
There’s lots of interesting art and paintings in El Zarape but my favorite is this one of these two horses. I call it the Goodfellas horse painting because one’s looking this way and the other’s looking that way. They're like, "Hey, whatta ya goin' to do 'bout it?"
There’s a side room off from the main dining room with more booths, gaming machines, a bar and a painting on the wall of three festive Mexicans. My favorite is the fourth smaller one off to the left. I’m not sure what “Ajuaaa” means in Spanish, but I’m wondering if it means, “I just got bit in the leg by a poisonous Mexican spider!”
Meanwhile, back in the main dining room...
Lunch is served! Patty got a taco salad, I’m not sure what Danny ordered, but it looks tasty and I got steak and chorizo tacos! ¡Todo fue tan delicioso! ¡Un almuerzo fantástico!
Blanca took a parting shot of us after lunch. Now it’s off to the next stop of what will now be called, “An Official West Peoria Seitz Seeing Tour!”
The Bill And Helen Seitz House
This is the house that Danny grew up in with his parents, my uncle Bill and my aunt Helen. They were both great people, my uncle Bill was a school Principal and educator and a life-long St. Louis Cardinals fan. My aunt Helen was a wonderful, sweet person and a super-talented painter and artist. Danny grew up in this house with his brothers, Mike, Steve and David and his sister Mary Ann. And I just found out that Mary Ann’s son, Sam recently got married! Sam lives in New York and he and I used to hang out occasionally. Congratulations to Sam and Rachel!
This house brings back fun memories of going there for holiday parties and family reunions, I haven’t seen it for decades! Now it’s off to the next Seitz Site!
Grandpa Seitz’s House
Now this really opens up a floodgate of memories. As I wrote a couple days ago on my vacation blog, my family lived in Louisville, Kentucky from 1963 to 1969. Every Christmas we would come back to Peoria and we’d stay in this house with our Grandpa Seitz. The best memory I have from staying here involves a visit from Danny and his brothers and sister.
Since they lived close by, they used to come over and we’d play at Grandpa’s house and in the neighborhood. One year Danny and the other Seitz children were over and my Grandpa Seitz said he’d run out and get us some popcorn, which excited all of us. Well, time went by and we all wondered what happened to Grandpa Seitz. Finally after about an hour had gone by he came back with the strong scent of beer on his breath and we all asked where the popcorn was.
“Oh, I...I...forgot it!” He confessed in a voice tinged with guilt. Even at our young ages we figured out that he had gone to his favorite bar in West Peoria, Mike’s Tavern, where he was a regular and had a few beers. As the years have gone by, I’ve become somewhat of a regular at Mike’s myself and I discovered that Danny had never drank a beer at Mike’s Tavern. So of course the last stop of this West Peoria Seitz Seeing Tour has got to be...
Here we are at Mike’s and judging from the cars and trucks outside, there’s quite a holiday crowd in here!
Wow, we walked in and it’s packed in here! While weaving through the crowd to get to the less-crowded back room, I managed to get photos of four smiling faces at Mike’s. You have to smile at Mike’s Tavern, it’s just the rules! And don’t forget to buy a cup of nuts while you’re in there!
It’s official, Danny has broken his Mike’s Tavern beer virginity! Grandpa Seitz would be proud of us! Thanks to Danny and Patty for another fun day of lunching and adventures! I’ve already got an idea for the next one! We’ll see you all tomorrow!