The announcement that Casbeers at the Church had been renamed San Antone Café & Concerts ignited the FB fury of some in the local music world.
“What??!!” asked singer-songwriter Aly Tadros. “Like, in the church?”
“Dislike,” succinctly wrote drummer and graphic design-extraordinaire Chuck Kerr. Yes, our Chuck Kerr.
I say: chill out! With all due respect to the Casbeer family, had the venue been called “San Antone Café & Concerts” all these years and all of a sudden they changed it to “Casbeers,” the shit would've really hit the fan.
Consider it from co-owner Barbara Wolfe's point of view.
“The problem was our previous tenant wouldn’t let us out of the lease early,” said Wolfe, who, along with husband Steve Silbas, opened the church location on July 4, 2008. They had been renting the original Blanco location since February 6, 1999, but when they saw an opportunity to own the South Alamo church, with a restaurant and a patio below, they went for it, For a while, there were two Casbeers functioning at the same time. “And that is the reason for the name change. We don’t want people to be confused with two Casbeers, thinking that we’re somehow involved with the old one.” (“The old one” is now called Historic Casbeer’s Center Grill; why don't you bitch about that?)
When talking about the old name and location, Wolfe chokes up a little, especially when mentioning the name of Lucille Casbeer, the daughter of the man who built Casbeers.
“We love the name and have a strong sentimental attachment for it,” Wolfe said. “We met [Lucille] from day one, she gave us their original enchilada recipe, and she was very, very helpful to us from early on and still has been. We’re a little sad about that, because we felt that somehow we helped keep her history alive, but at the same time we think the name is not as important as to whom the operators are.
“And as far as the so-called name change controversy, moving from Blanco Rd. to King William was actually tougher than changing the name. Some people felt bad about us leaving the neighborhood and the building, but now, after two years [in King William], they love it."
Get over it, and get used to it: Casbeers at the Church is now San Antone Café & Concerts. Big freaking deal.
The only thing I regret is not being there for the official sign change, which took place in the morning of Wednesday, January 5.
“Actually, there was no change of sign,” she said. “We just painted over it.”
So Casbeers ain’t dead: it just lives in the original Blanco location, while the ghosts of Casbeers at the Church remain hidden under the letters of fresh paint. “That’s right,” Wolfe said. “There’s lots of them.”
But there's another ghost Barbara didn't mention. On January 6, the day after our conversation, the Express-News published a report mentioning the 2009 lawsuit against Wolfe and Silba by Carlos Quesada on behalf of his children, who own the original Casbeers. The E-N reported that the lawsuit accuses the San Antone owners of illegally obtaining a copyright of the name Casbeers, of violating the original locations' exclusive right to the name, and even of stealing Casbeers' original enchilada recipe.
"None of that is true," said Wolfe on January 12. "And the name change had nothing to do with the lawsuit. It was strictly a business decision."
Cassie Quesada, who co-owns and runs Historic Casbeer's Center Grill with her brother, didn't reply to the Current's inquiries. But Richard Naylor, who cooks and manages the old location (and who worked for Wolfe at the Blanco location shortly before the Church location was opened), said something intriguing about the enchilada recipe sold at San Antone. Is it the original recipe Wolfe claims was given to her by Lucille Casbeer?
"I doubt it," Naylor told the Current on January 8. "I know for sure they're not doing the same recipe, 'cause I've seen it."
Really? Then why are the Quesadas accusing Wolfe and Silbas of stealing the recipe?
"I don't know why he would say that," said Wolfe..
Not that I give a hamster's ass about who is selling what enchilada to whom, but the only person who knows the truth, besides Wolfe and Silba, is 84-year-old Lucille Casbeer, who, Wolfe claims, gave the recipe to her. We've been unable to locate Mrs. Casbeer, so we asked Wolfe for some help, in order to put an end to what Wolfe says are false rumors.
"I'll try, but not today," Wolfe said on January 12. "[Husband] Steve [Silbas] is going into surgery in about an hour." This week, Silbas already underwent open-heart surgery, and a distraught Wolfe told us "he's not doing too well."
We wish him a prompt recovery.
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