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Casa Bonita & Crystal's Palace


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#1 lobster

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Posted 27 February 2005 - 08:43 AM

After doing a lil' searchin' around it turns out there are two existing Casa Bonitas out of the original four; one in Denver, and one in Tulsa. I had no idea but the innovator of that place also was the mastermind behind Crystal's .. ! Who knew? I found this interesting blog entry from a guy who used to manage the Crystal's in Irving (and subsequent responses by managers of the Camp Bowie one in the late 70s).. I'll try to recruit him over here for the sake of the convo :cheez: Here tis:

----

Just a little bit of history...

Bill Waugh was responsible not only for Casa Bonita and Taco Bueno, but also envisioned (if you remember it as a kid) Crystal's Pizza & Spaghetti. I live in Texas. There used to be a Casa Bonita in Fort Worth, now sadly gone.

There were 4 Casas total, Fort Worth, Tulsa, Denver, and I can't remember where the 4th one was.

I don't know how many Crystal's there were, but by the mid-90s, there were 4. Dallas TX, Irving TX, Abilene TX, and Tulsa, OK (in the same shopping center as the Tulsa Casa Bonita).

All of the Casa Bonitas, Crystal's Pizzas and Taco Buenos used to be under the control of the Casa Bonita Restaurant company under the leadership of Bill Waugh. He sold the chains off to Black-Eyed Pea management sometime in the late 80s/early 90s, when the chain had hit its peak. He now is responsible for the well-known restaurant chain known as Burger Street.

Black-Eyed Pea Management Company went belly-up a few years later and folded, and the 4 surviving Crystal's and 2 surviving Casa Bonitas went under private ownership. Don't know who owns the two Casas now, but I imagine it's the same company that owns both, since their websites are virtually identical.

Today, the only survivors of these once-magnificent restaurants are the Crystal's in Irving, TX (Dallas Area), the Casa in Tulsa, OK, and of course, the Casa discussed in this article.

There were numerous Crystal's, including the largest one in Denver. Rumors about the memory of this restaurant are legendary. If ANYONE has any info, pics or just a good story about this restaurant, please don't hesitate to e-mail me.

Why the interest, might you ask? I worked as a Manager for the last surviving Crystal's in Irving, TX for 3 years, and learned a lot of the history of Mr. Waugh and the Casa Bonita Inc. legacy. All in all, a unique restaurant history and one that will probably never be repeated again.

As for Casa in Denver, if I ever visit my aunt in Boulder, I will visit the restaurant, just to be able to say I saw it. Yes, I know the food is basically repackaged Taco Bueno (I've been to the one that was in FW and the one in Tulsa), but it's still a wonderful place to experience.

Thanks for the blog...glad to hear Casa in Denver is still alive and kicking.

Regards,

S.B.
Dallas, TX

#2 salvag

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Posted 27 February 2005 - 01:41 PM

Thanks for posting this lobster. I too came across this same post last night while doing some research on the subject. I'd love to see some pictures of the old Casa Bonita in Fort Worth because it is nothing more than a distant memory in my mind.

When did it close?

#3 utamav91

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Posted 04 March 2005 - 04:32 PM

I think a Crystal's is still open in Irving on 183 maybe east of Irving Mall a few exits?

#4 Willy1

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Posted 05 March 2005 - 10:09 AM

I loved Crystals Pizza. I used to go to the one on Camp Bowie in Ridglea when I was a kid. Actually, it was "THE" hangout for all the kids at Monnig Middle School when I went there. Crystals was the first big video game arcade in that part of town... Kids would fock to that place to play game and eat pizza. Before Crystals, Rollerland West was the big hangout, and after the novelty of Crystals wore off Putt Putt (they built a video arcade which was the big rage at the time) became the hot place to be...

For those who don't remember Crystals on Camp Bowie, it was in Ridglea where the Tom Thumb is now... Geesh, I had all but forgotten about those days.

Crystals in Irving on 183 is still open, although I've never been there.

#5 normanfd

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Posted 05 March 2005 - 03:39 PM

Crystal's on Camp Bowie was very popular. You always had to wait in a looong line before you even ordered your pizza, and then it seemed you had to wait an eternity before your pizza was ready, but the arcade games were worth the wait. It's funny to think now what a big hit Pong was at the time.

#6 cjyoung

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Posted 07 March 2005 - 09:31 AM

I worked at Casa Bonita behind Hulen mall in the 80's.

#7 TexasPacific52

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Posted 07 March 2005 - 06:02 PM

Casa Bonita's behind Hulen Mall...I think Ed's Shoes and a portion of The Roomstore now occupy that end of the shopping strip.....didn't they have a big waterfall inside?...

Crystal's on Camp Bowie....I dont think there's any kid around from the early 80's that doesnt remember Crystal's....every birthday party in town wanted to be held there....the arcade and the small movie theater inside are memorable...so much so that I cant remember how the pizza tasted.....lol

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#8 salvag

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Posted 07 March 2005 - 07:24 PM

Casa Bonita's behind Hulen Mall...I think Ed's Shoes and a portion of The Roomstore now occupy that end of the shopping strip.....didn't they have a big waterfall inside?...


Ed's Shoes? I think you mean either Larry's Shoes or Mr. E's Music. As John said in a previous post, the actual building that housed Casa Bonita has been demolished and Mr. E's Music (previously Just For Feet) is now where it once stood.

Anyone know when Casa Bonita closed and was demolished??

#9 cjyoung

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Posted 08 March 2005 - 09:57 AM

Casa Bonita's behind Hulen Mall...I think Ed's Shoes and a portion of The Roomstore now occupy that end of the shopping strip.....didn't they have a big waterfall inside?...


Ed's Shoes? I think you mean either Larry's Shoes or Mr. E's Music. As John said in a previous post, the actual building that housed Casa Bonita has been demolished and Mr. E's Music (previously Just For Feet) is now where it once stood.

Anyone know when Casa Bonita closed and was demolished??

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I worked there until it closed, which I think was in the summer/fall of 1985.

#10 jenidallas

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Posted 01 July 2005 - 10:02 AM

I worked there until it closed, which I think was in the summer/fall of 1985.

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Had to have been 1986 - we had 8th grade day (Wedgwood Middle School) there and then went over to the UA at the mall to see Top Gun.

#11 courtnie

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Posted 01 July 2005 - 12:53 PM

I loved those places..my dad worked on the machines in Crystals Palace......we got to eat there all the time and play the games for free...that was sooo awesome as a kid....I loved Casa Bonitas as well..that was a great place..... Memories Memories.....Crystals Palace is still over in Irving...im not sure how great it still is havent been there...do you guys remember the couches and massive coffee tables in Crystals on Camp Bowie??? those were the days....sniff sniff

#12 jenidallas

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Posted 02 July 2005 - 05:59 AM

Crystals definite brings back memories.

As a kid w/ divorced parents, I remember many a Saturday or Sunday afternoon in there with all the dads taking their kids there to play video games/eat pizza. Later as a teenager, we had church lock-ins there on Friday nights.

I always remember that place as being gigantic and easy to get lost in (although I bet it really isn't as big as my childhood memory thinks it was). The "cool" place to be for preteens I knew seemed to be the little "cartoon theatre" in the back - when we hit lock-in age, that was where folks would go to make out.

My favorite thing about Crystals was the build-your-own-sundae bar. They would give you a chilled glass and then you would top your own sundae with as much topping and goop as possible. Mine would always be running down the glass by the time we were done.

#13 cjyoung

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Posted 05 July 2005 - 08:13 AM

Crystals definite brings back memories. 

As a kid w/ divorced parents, I remember many a Saturday or Sunday afternoon in there with all the dads taking their kids there to play video games/eat pizza.  Later as a teenager, we had church lock-ins there on Friday nights. 

I always remember that place as being gigantic and easy to get lost in (although I bet it really isn't as big as my childhood memory thinks it was).  The "cool" place to be for preteens I knew seemed to be the little "cartoon theatre" in the back - when we hit lock-in age, that was where folks would go to make out.

My favorite thing about Crystals was the build-your-own-sundae bar.  They would give you a chilled glass and then you would top your own sundae with as much topping and goop as possible.  Mine would always be running down the glass by the time we were done.

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My favorite thing about Casa Bonita was the overflowing tip jars, which the restaurant distributed evenly :unsure: amongst all employees. :D

#14 courtnie

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Posted 05 July 2005 - 10:00 AM

Its too bad we do not have anything that cool now for our kids....my daughter would have loved crystals...

#15 avvy

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Posted 06 July 2005 - 08:33 AM

I remember both, Crystal's more than Casa Bonita. I celebrated my 7th birthday at Crystal's Pizza, and I remember Casa Bonita from about the age of five. Casa was magical to me. I remember having to ask my mom a couple of times what "Casa Bonita" means!

#16 courtnie

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Posted 06 July 2005 - 03:41 PM

I always remember getting as many tickets as I could and getting as much candy as we could hold for our tickets...I believe it was going away just as Chuck e Cheese was making its debut....

#17 SBTX31

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Posted 18 July 2005 - 02:26 PM

After doing a lil' searchin' around it turns out there are two existing Casa Bonitas out of the original four; one in Denver, and one in Tulsa.  I had no idea but the innovator of that place also was the mastermind behind Crystal's .. ! Who knew?  I found this interesting blog entry from a guy who used to manage the Crystal's in Irving (and subsequent responses by managers of the Camp Bowie one in the late 70s).. I'll try to recruit him over here for the sake of the convo ;)    Here tis:

----

Just a little bit of history...

Bill Waugh was responsible not only for Casa Bonita and Taco Bueno, but also envisioned (if you remember it as a kid) Crystal's Pizza & Spaghetti. I live in Texas. There used to be a Casa Bonita in Fort Worth, now sadly gone.

There were 4 Casas total, Fort Worth, Tulsa, Denver, and I can't remember where the 4th one was.

I don't know how many Crystal's there were, but by the mid-90s, there were 4. Dallas TX, Irving TX, Abilene TX, and Tulsa, OK (in the same shopping center as the Tulsa Casa Bonita).

All of the Casa Bonitas, Crystal's Pizzas and Taco Buenos used to be under the control of the Casa Bonita Restaurant company under the leadership of Bill Waugh. He sold the chains off to Black-Eyed Pea management sometime in the late 80s/early 90s, when the chain had hit its peak. He now is responsible for the well-known restaurant chain known as Burger Street.

Black-Eyed Pea Management Company went belly-up a few years later and folded, and the 4 surviving Crystal's and 2 surviving Casa Bonitas went under private ownership. Don't know who owns the two Casas now, but I imagine it's the same company that owns both, since their websites are virtually identical.

Today, the only survivors of these once-magnificent restaurants are the Crystal's in Irving, TX (Dallas Area), the Casa in Tulsa, OK, and of course, the Casa discussed in this article.

There were numerous Crystal's, including the largest one in Denver. Rumors about the memory of this restaurant are legendary. If ANYONE has any info, pics or just a good story about this restaurant, please don't hesitate to e-mail me.

Why the interest, might you ask? I worked as a Manager for the last surviving Crystal's in Irving, TX for 3 years, and learned a lot of the history of Mr. Waugh and the Casa Bonita Inc. legacy. All in all, a unique restaurant history and one that will probably never be repeated again.

As for Casa in Denver, if I ever visit my aunt in Boulder, I will visit the restaurant, just to be able to say I saw it. Yes, I know the food is basically repackaged Taco Bueno (I've been to the one that was in FW and the one in Tulsa), but it's still a wonderful place to experience.

Thanks for the blog...glad to hear Casa in Denver is still alive and kicking.

Regards,

S.B.
Dallas, TX

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Greetings, all. I am the person guilty of the comments above. ;)

I am the ex-Manager from Crystal's Pizza in Irving. Utamav91, yes, the Crystal's in Irving is still open for business. It's under completely different management now, though (which is not a bad thing, I will explain in a minute). And, needless to say, privately owned. I can't say I agreed with their choice of colors for the new paint job they just gave it, but...it certainly attracts your attention from 183, and I think a new paint job + a bright color says to the customer "Hey, we're revamped, come in and try us out!" It doesn't bother me that much, really, I understand it from a business standpoint. However, I do have to wonder why they painted the pair of stone Sphinxes in the library gold. B) Overall, the Crystal's Pizza in Irving is still doing very well, and my hat goes off to the new management for keeping it aloft.

I still keep in close touch with my ex-fellow-managers, and co-workers. The place was pretty important to me in my own young adulthood. The work was grueling, but unlike any other fast food restaurant I'd ever seen before or since, the people there were, for lack of a better word, like family.

I was very priveleged to work among so many unique people. Our managers hired them that way. Work was very, very tough there, as we had a reputation to uphold considering the store's history. Many of us, in a temporary fit of anger, frustration or just plain rage would mutter under our breaths that we were going to quit, but almost everyone who said that ALSO said "I won't quit, though...because I like the people here that I work with too much."

Being a manager was even more difficult. It carried personal responsibility and liability for both your employees and the restaurant's current reputation. I feel that I always did a reasonably good job, overall. Some nights when we got slammed for inexplicable reasons, something would run out on the salad bar and a customer would get pi$$ed, but you learn to deal with things like that. And I always gave the customer his/her money completely back when I felt they had been wronged. Or coupons for free food the next time they came back, whichever made them happier.
Overall, the people running that restaurant are what made it work. Everything else, all the antiques in that store, the unique look of it, the theatre running those long-since-banned Bugs Bunny cartoons, all of it was always just bells and whistles compared to the people who ran it.

It had all the major amenities of a full service restaurant, and then some, plus all the problems of a fast food pizza place. I felt that we were offering a good product though. Our pie dough was hand-rolled every single morning from fresh dough that had been made the night before. Our seasonings for the dough and the sauce were only known by a few employees and kept generally secret. Our Canadian Bacon (which my uncle swore by when I was a kid) was always cut fresh every morning.

And such was life for one of the most unique restaurant concepts of all time. After I left, the store most certainly evolved, but I think it had to, to keep up with the times. It is still lavishly decorated, and kept pretty clean and organized. Buffet is all day now, something we never had in my time. (Hot wings on the buffet are interesting too)...so, I'm happy for the restaurant that new managers put in new ideas to keep the place going. I've been there several times now, and I keep going back. My best friend from high school (also a former employee) and I still love going there about once a month to gorge on pizza and reminisce.

I had the privelege also of -- as I said in my original comments that lobster posted -- getting to know the history of the place. So, I went around asking during my breaks (when I was just a lowly busboy, even back then all our managers would sit with us for lunch or break)....about the past, how it developed, who owned it and how it flourished. Naturally, my managers had some grandiose tales to tell me, to be sure. The one manager and mentor who worked with me the most used to work for Casa in Fort Worth when he was just a late-teen, and being in his 30s by then, had a never-ending sea of stories to tell.

All through this, I listened. I'm good at that. Plus, I like history in general, especially DFW history. So I got -- over time, from many people who had been with the place, some of them since it opened in 1975 -- a basic synopsis of the restaurant's entire history. The story of Bill Waugh came later. Some of the things I heard about him and what a hard man he was to put on a show for when he came to visit were unnerving. But despite that fact, the guy was a genius in envisioning both Crystal's and Casa...

...it's too bad that his original vision is gone, with only one Crystal's left and two Casas left.

But I learned all that I could in the hope of preserving the memories of the places. I know little about the Crystal's in Fort Worth, but my GM told me many stories about working there (which, unfortunately doesn't describe the place). He only told me that the main dining room in the place was HUGE compared to the Irving Crystal's, and a real pain to bus tables on during peak hours.

I feel lucky to have been both a fan as a child and an employee of one of these unique restaurants. I want to thank lobster for finding my commentary on a VERY obscure weblog (kudos to you for doing your homework, hehe) and posting it here.

If there's any question I can answer to any of you, let me know. I will try. I have wanted, as I told lobster in a PM, to get fans of these restaurants and veteran employees together on a unique message board setup, and exchange photos, stories, etc.

I think it would be an awesome idea. Because there are so many people out there who love Crystal's or Casa and think to themselves (whatever happened to those places)? In a nutshell, I want to try and preserve an important part of DFW history, even if only in memory.

Regards to all who replied here,

S.B.
Dallas, TX

#18 dkrmwiz

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Posted 29 September 2005 - 06:47 AM

[size=4][size=6]the casa bonita in tulsa ok is closing tomorrow, sept. 30, 2005. something about losing the lease. i just think they don't get much business anymore. there was a crystals pizza in the same shopping center too. but it went out in about 1993. i have fond memories of both places. sorry to see our casa going, i guess the only one will be in denver now.

#19 irishdarlin

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Posted 04 October 2005 - 12:49 PM

[size=4][size=6]the casa bonita in tulsa ok is closing tomorrow, sept. 30, 2005. something about losing the lease. i just think they don't get much business anymore. there was a crystals pizza in the same shopping center too. but it went out in about 1993. i have fond memories of both places. sorry to see our casa going, i guess the only one will be in denver now.


ICK! I ate there once and was sick for days. That stuff was not Mexican food, it was worse than Panchos. I can see why it's going out of business. Surprised it could stay in business as long as it did.

Rumor has it that Waugh lost the Crystal's in N. Dallas during his divorce. Ex wife got it and then probably let it slowly die just to get back at him.

He sure should have stuck with Taco Bueno. Bet he could kick himself for selling the one thing he started up that actually made money. lol

#20 double

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Posted 04 October 2005 - 04:15 PM

Must be a matter of taste. I far preferred Bonita to Panchos when I was a kid, though I could pig out at either.
And Crystal's was definitely my favorite pizza. I think they used provolone cheese.

#21 cjyoung

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Posted 05 October 2005 - 11:36 AM


[size=4][size=6]the casa bonita in tulsa ok is closing tomorrow, sept. 30, 2005. something about losing the lease. i just think they don't get much business anymore. there was a crystals pizza in the same shopping center too. but it went out in about 1993. i have fond memories of both places. sorry to see our casa going, i guess the only one will be in denver now.


ICK! I ate there once and was sick for days. That stuff was not Mexican food, it was worse than Panchos. I can see why it's going out of business. Surprised it could stay in business as long as it did.

Rumor has it that Waugh lost the Crystal's in N. Dallas during his divorce. Ex wife got it and then probably let it slowly die just to get back at him.

He sure should have stuck with Taco Bueno. Bet he could kick himself for selling the one thing he started up that actually made money. lol


The Hulen Casa Bonita, where I worked, was 10x better than Panchos. We used real meat. B)

#22 double

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Posted 05 October 2005 - 01:47 PM

When Casa Bonita closed some other restaurant opened in the same location. It was also a Mexican food place, but I can't think what it was called. Does anybody remember? I don't think they stayed open for very long.

#23 JBB

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Posted 05 October 2005 - 02:10 PM

Wasn't it something connected to the Jimenez food brand?

#24 double

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Posted 06 October 2005 - 01:53 PM

Wasn't it something connected to the Jimenez food brand?

That sounds right to me. Thanks.

#25 courtnie

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Posted 06 October 2005 - 06:56 PM

Well guys I had my last experience at Crystals......I went to the one in irving this past weekend..and what a joke...the place is still stuck in the 80's. all of the games were broken...and they were expensive to play on the ones that worked. the food..well..it wasnt great it wasnt bad..you had to pay for ice cream and the dessert bar lacked...greatly...as for the atmosphere it was the same...still had the charm it always did..the library had tables in it and the couches(mind you the SAME couches from the 80's) had been moved into the middle of the dining room with a fish tank in the middle that needed cleaning badly... anyway to say the least it was fun to relive and when it closes i want to be at the auction.. :laugh: because they have some awesome antiques...it is run by kids anymore..that might be part of the problem..although chucky cheese is too but at least the foods decent and the games work...

#26 Buck

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Posted 05 November 2005 - 11:22 PM

Casa Bonita in Denver still going strong -- went there 2 weeks ago, saw cliff divers & ate great fajitas.


#27 JulieM

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Posted 24 November 2005 - 07:48 PM

What memories. I remember Crystal's. What a fun place. We used it a lot in high school for pictures for the newspaper.

Down here in Houston, we don't have Taco Bueno. It seems like they did in the eighties because you can find some of the old builings...my favorite is a chiropractic office...but by the time I moved here in 1990, they were all gone.

#28 Tulsan

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Posted 17 March 2006 - 10:33 PM

Just a little FYI here....The original owner Bill Waugh purchased the Casa Bonita again when it closed here in Tulsa in September, 2005. It is now getting prepared to reopen as "Casa Viva" soon. They renovated it inside and outside bringing it up to date with a fresh new clean look. The new sign went up this week and the outside of it looks fantastic. According to news reports, Bill owns another Casa Viva and it is doing very well. The one here in Tulsa will have the same atmosphere as Casa Bonita (flags on table, all the same rooms including the cave, and much more).
Casa Bonita was still a thriving restaurant when it closed. Due to the lease agreement, they had to shut down. When Crystals closed in the same shopping center, I was told it was the same problem with a lease agreement. This shopping center has a lot of tenants come and go. Makes you wonder! Pretty sad that the Crystals is now a Dollar General store. I'd give anything to have another Crystals Pizza in town.

#29 bdconn

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Posted 05 April 2006 - 10:05 AM

I have many fond memory's of the Casa Bonita's behind the Hulen Mall. I had my rehearsal dinner their the day before my wedding. We all ate n the cave behind the waterfall. I've been married 22 years now and I sure wish I still had a cave to stick my three kids in while my wife and i ate. THat was the great thing about Casa Bonita and Crystals, they had charater, they where fun places to be regardless of how good or bad the food was. I don't know of any place like them today.

#30 John T Roberts

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Posted 05 April 2006 - 09:17 PM

Welcome to the forum, the 600th member, bdconn!

#31 YouGotRedOnU

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Posted 21 April 2006 - 05:13 PM

Here is a pic that I took of a plane that is hanging from the ceiling in the flight museum in Galveston.
I was told that it used to belong to the Casa Bonita's on Hulen.
Being that it has been over 20 years since I had been there I am not 100% on this, but I do seem to remember something similar. One thing that does stick in my head vividly is the little unicycle guy that used to cross from one corner of the ceiling to the other on a wire over the game room.
That and I remember playing a Star Trek arcade game there each time I went.
Anyways here is the pic. If anyone remembers seeing this me and the wife would love validation on if the person that told me this is right.

IPB Image

#32 Melanie Duff

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Posted 09 May 2006 - 03:40 PM

Hi all,

I'm a newcomer to this site, looking for any info about the old Crystals Pizza restaurants. I worked at the Crystals in Oklahoma City in 1984--my first real job the summer after my junior year. I met a busboy there named Jeff and we fell in love. After high school graduation, his family moved to Missouri and he joined the Navy. I went on to college, but we never forgot each other.

Now, twenty-two years later, we have found each other again. We are still in love and are getting married on May 13th. Since we went to different high schools, we never would have met in the first place if we both didn't work at Crystals.

We remember fondly the movie theatre were they showed old cartoons and Laurel and Hardy shorts. Remember the kids' birthday parties they used to throw with the little pizzas? And the best part--the skeetball tickets you could redeem for prizes at the sundae bar.

I would welcome anyone else's memories of Crystal's.

#33 weinerdog

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Posted 22 May 2006 - 08:32 PM

Wow, I used to love Crystal's! My sister used to take me to the one in irving in the 80's. I loved the pizza and getting to watch cartoons on the big screen! What a memory.

#34 heathPS

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Posted 23 May 2006 - 01:53 PM

QUOTE(weinerdog @ May 22 2006, 09:32 PM) View Post

Wow, I used to love Crystal's! My sister used to take me to the one in irving in the 80's. I loved the pizza and getting to watch cartoons on the big screen! What a memory.



I wouldn't recommend going back to Crystals now. You wouldn't want to ruin a good memory.

The place is horrible now.

#35 Dismuke

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Posted 10 May 2007 - 12:45 AM

I was driving down 183 in Irving this evening at around 9:00 PM or so and noticed that the entire parking lot outside of the surviving Crystal's Pizza was filled with fire trucks with their lights on. I could see a fire department ladder on the side of the building. It was dark and hard to see - but it looked like there might have been fire damage or smoke damage on the tower portion of the fake facade. Too bad. I hope the damage was not too bad and it is able to open back up. I do lunch there on occasion as it has a somewhat better than okay pizza buffet - and a "theater" room where you can watch Tom & Jerry cartoons while you eat your pizza. I actually went there once back when I was in high school and we had a debate tournament in Irving. Back then it was a really impressive place. They had multi directional monitors hanging down from the ceiling which let people know when their pizza was ready - which at the time was sort of a novelty. It would be a shame if this is the end of it as the place seems to have new management that has been doing some much needed fix-up work.
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#36 texastrill

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Posted 10 May 2007 - 08:58 AM

Man,do I miss Crystals.How recent was it closed down?I took my wife out there to try it ,about two years ago and it was closed.
Too bad there cant be Gatti-Land, like in Austin,around here.Mr.Gatti's was our favorite place to go back when it was at the corner of Handley and Meadowbrook.The food was awesome.Now I have to go to N.Dallas or stop somewhere on my way to ATX, to get my fix.
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#37 cjyoung

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Posted 10 May 2007 - 12:35 PM

QUOTE(Dismuke @ May 10 2007, 01:45 AM) View Post

I was driving down 183 in Irving this evening at around 9:00 PM or so and noticed that the entire parking lot outside of the surviving Crystal's Pizza was filled with fire trucks with their lights on. I could see a fire department ladder on the side of the building. It was dark and hard to see - but it looked like there might have been fire damage or smoke damage on the tower portion of the fake facade. Too bad. I hope the damage was not too bad and it is able to open back up. I do lunch there on occasion as it has a somewhat better than okay pizza buffet - and a "theater" room where you can watch Tom & Jerry cartoons while you eat your pizza. I actually went there once back when I was in high school and we had a debate tournament in Irving. Back then it was a really impressive place. They had multi directional monitors hanging down from the ceiling which let people know when their pizza was ready - which at the time was sort of a novelty. It would be a shame if this is the end of it as the place seems to have new management that has been doing some much needed fix-up work.


I hope the store survives. I was planning on going this summer. cry.gif

#38 Dismuke

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Posted 27 May 2007 - 01:07 PM

QUOTE(cjyoung @ May 10 2007, 01:35 PM) View Post


I hope the store survives. I was planning on going this summer. cry.gif


I forgot to post an update on what happened.

The tallest point of the fake facade was struck by lightening and caught fire. The fire department was able to put it out quickly, however and Crystals opened back up a couple of days later. The sign on the building - which has sort of become a local landmark of sorts - was completely knocked out and has to be replaced. I had lunch there a few days ago and the place seems to be back to normal.

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#39 JOHNFINLEY

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Posted 20 June 2007 - 11:50 AM

QUOTE(texastrill @ May 10 2007, 09:58 AM) View Post

Mr.Gatti's was our favorite place to go back when it was at the corner of Handley and Meadowbrook.The food was awesome.Now I have to go to N.Dallas or stop somewhere on my way to ATX, to get my fix.


I live near Handley and Meadowbrook........where was Mr. Gattis? Where the CVS is located now?


#40 Giraffe

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Posted 02 December 2007 - 11:28 PM

Ah, Crystal's! Very fond memories of that place. I went there three or four times when I was a kid, because my big sister attended Southwest High School and we played our annual football game with Paschal at Farrington Field. After each year's game EVERYBODY would high-tail it over to Crystal's on Camp Bowie and pig out. I fondly remember all those arcade games that nobody else had; the movie theater with Laurel & Hardy movies; taking forever to get your pizza; and the "Make your own sundae" station. Yum! That was in the late 1970s.

The Crystal's on Airport Freeway is still open. I actually went to that location more often because that was where the local Star Trek Fan Club would meet each month; nice meeting room. That was in the early 1990s.

I eventually got into electronics and learned how to repair arcade video games. Some of those games that Crystal's had are now rare collectors items. Man, if I could turn back the clock...

#41 Giraffe

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Posted 02 December 2007 - 11:30 PM

The only Casa Bonita I ever went into was the one behind Hulen Mall. Our Scout Troop had our Court of Honor in there once. (And ONLY once!) That was in 1984. It was nice, though. I hadn't even known it had since disappeared until I read about it here. smile.gif

#42 Bruen Hilda

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Posted 30 December 2007 - 10:40 PM

wub.gif

I was one of the original employees of the Crystals Pizza and Spaghetti on Airport Frwy in Irving when it first opened. If the plaque is still on the wall then my name is on there probably somewhere between eight and thirteen. The initals are DT. I met Mr. Waugh many times because in the early days he came in frequently to check and make sure we were doing our jobs. He was hard nosed...but without a doubt...I received some of the best management training ever in my experiences there. Yes, it was tough and I do recall Bill telling us if we did exactly what he had told us to do everyday...then we wouldn't have to worry whether he showed up or not. And that was true.

Bill's family owned a string of dry cleaners if I recall correctly. He inherited the business and worked in it briefly. He wanted to work in something where he could see people being happy so he sold the business and Casa Bonita was born. That's a very short version...wink.gif


I registered with the name Bruen Hilda because anyone that worked there during that time would know immediatly who I am. A fellow manager gave me that nickname because I had very long hair and since Star Wars had just come out, I wore it "Princess Leia" style but with braids.

It's so nice to know that others feel so nostalgic about this restuarant chain as I do. I got in at a very special time when it was mandatory to do some of your training in each division so I got to spend six weeks working at the Casa Bonita in Denver and six weeks working at one of the Taco Bueno's in Oklahoma City. It was truly amazing!

Glad also to know that Bill Waugh is still alive. I thought that he had sold Casa Bonita Inc to go into some English banking venture...but I haven't kept up.

It's nice to be here.


#43 John T Roberts

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Posted 30 December 2007 - 10:56 PM

Welcome to the forum!

#44 texastrill

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Posted 31 December 2007 - 10:43 AM

QUOTE (JOHNFINLEY @ Jun 20 2007, 11:50 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
QUOTE (texastrill @ May 10 2007, 09:58 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Mr.Gatti's was our favorite place to go back when it was at the corner of Handley and Meadowbrook.The food was awesome.Now I have to go to N.Dallas or stop somewhere on my way to ATX, to get my fix.


I live near Handley and Meadowbrook........where was Mr. Gattis? Where the CVS is located now?


It was where the VFW building is.Same building painted different color.Its behind the gas station across Handley from CVS.
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#45 earlbutkus

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Posted 11 August 2013 - 11:54 AM

I remember eating Chrystal's pizza in the theater area when I was a kid. Later when I was in high school, my friends and I would hang out at the pool table area (but I still liked watching cartoons and the 3 stooges in the theater)






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