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FORT WORTH (CBS 11 NEWS) – It’s known to most as just — Joe T’s. People go to Joe T. Garcia’s for old-school Mexican food, and they go in droves. Still today there can be some pretty long lines.

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“Was is this past Saturday? The line hit the end of the block and turned. that’s unbelievable,” said Joe T. Lancarte, who is the grandson of the original Joe T Garcia.

Joe gave us a tour and quick history. Joe T Garcia’s opened on July 4th of 1935. Pictures of the early days still hang in the original dining room.

“That’s your grandfather right there?” CBS 11 news anchor Russ McCaskey asked. “That’s my grandfather in the archway and that’s my Aunt Mary,” Joe responded as he points out his relatives.

(credit: Russ McCaskey/CBS 11 News)

(credit: Russ McCaskey/CBS 11 News)

The day they opened, the dining room could hold 24 customers, and they served — not Mexican food — but rather barbecue.

“Well this is the north side and the packing house was right over here, and that was a big deal,” Joe said.
Soon after they added his grandmothers enchilada’s and the legend was born.

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Joe grew up on the property. The family lived behind the restaurant and he says he would not trade his childhood for anything. “I can tell you stories. The stock yards just up the street. Cattle would get out. You walk out there, and you go ‘there goes a cow.’ I’m not kidding.”

The restaurant grew slowly over the years, but it picked up speed in the 70s and 80s. On a walking tour Joe answered more questions. “This is the original kitchen? This is to the point that this is the original stove,” he said. They now have three kitchens and can serve more than 1,200 customers.

(credit: Russ McCaskey/CBS 11 News)

(credit: Russ McCaskey/CBS 11 News)

It seems anyone and everyone eats here. Actor Harrison Ford recently stopped by for dinner. “When people come in and they come in through the gate like Harrison did when he came in. He goes wow! I didn’t expect this when I walked in.”

Joe T Garcia’s – wowing customers for 80 years. It is still family owned. Still cash only, And some say still has some of the best food and drink in town.

Russ asked about the dual distinctiveness of the restaurant. “One of the things I hear is the food is good, but the margaritas are great.” Joe agreed and offered some advice. “We serve a lot of margaritas. You are going to have to try one, but I don’t recommend doing the news afterwards!”

So I have been warned and so have you! Thanks Joe for the tour and history lesson.

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