HOUSTON (CBSDFW.COM) – To Fuzzy and Rita Hajjar, former First Lady Barbara Bush and former President George H.W. Bush were more than just their favorite customers at Fuzzy’s Pizza and Café. Fuzzy said that he and his wife considered them family.
“I lost my parents five years ago, and I considered them my second parents,” Fuzzy said. “I loved them so much and admired them.”
The couple were among the millions of people across the U.S. who were devastated by Mrs. Bush’s death on Tuesday.
Fuzzy said, “We lost a great lady, a great First Lady.”
Rita said, “We lost our friend.”
The pizzeria opened back in 1984. When the Hajjars expanded their restaurant two years ago, they opened what is called the President Bush room. They hung photos of themselves with the former First Couple, and signed photos of both former President Bush (41) and his son, President George W. Bush (43).
Fuzzy said that he will never forget the day when the elder Bush, whose office was around the corner, discovered their pizzeria 26 years ago. “We started jumping honestly,” he recalled. “The President of the United States coming to Fuzzy’s. I couldn’t believe it.”
Fuzzy said that he made individual pizzas for each of them.
Mrs. Bush’s pizza included chicken, spinach, mushrooms, garlic and artichokes, while Mr. Bush’s pizza had artichoke hearts, pepperoni, Canadian bacon, Italian sausage, green peppers, mushrooms, onions and black olives.
It was love at first bite, Fuzzy said. “We asked them if we can put it on the menu, and they said, ‘We would be honored to be on the menu. It would be great.’ The customers loved it,” he added.
Fuzzy came to the U.S. from Syria 43 years ago. Rita said that this was among the reasons that the Bushes bragged about the restaurant. “They fell in love with Fuzzy when they met him, because they felt he was the American dream,” she said.