A generation has passed that has never had the chance to "raise the flag."

The Texas flag and the US flag are unrelated to this flag raising. It all has to do with the flag at Pancho's Mexican Buffet, which indicates that you need more mouthwatering Mexican food.

The Starting Point of Everything
Pancho's Mexican Buffet first opened its doors in El Paso back in 1958. When we were kids (and, let's be honest, adults), it was one of the best places to eat. With rectangular black platters holding tacos, enchiladas, and those chile rellenos, you could go through the buffet and eat everything you wanted. After loading up on your preferred sides, proceed to take a seat.


Show Off the Flag!
Every table had a flag on it. Your waiter would know you wanted something different if you waved this flag.

Do you need another taco, enchilada, flauta, or drink refill? Raise the tricolor. Do you need more queso? Raise the tricolor. Do you need extra chips? Raise the tricolor.

Whenever you raised the flag, your request was granted.

Sibling disputes often erupted over the flag. Each person wished to hoist the flag. Those poor waiters and servers must have been exhausted from running after food in order for some kid to hoist the flag. They were aware of what they were getting into, though, and the tips were undoubtedly appreciated because the person making the payment probably felt horrible about all the running back and forth.

The penultimate flag raiser, the sopapillas, arrived after you had been delightfully stuffed with far more food than you could have ever eaten at any other Mexican restaurant.

Like many eateries, Pancho's closed its doors in a number of towns, including El Paso, the birthplace of the eatery. In the 1980s and early 1990s, Pancho's was a popular restaurant in many Texas towns. When it closed, the people who loved it deeply mourned and opened another location for chile relleno. Pancho's was a beloved restaurant in several Cities  It would be a dream come true to open it again because people adored it so much. It's nostalgia, and people will embrace it because they adore nostalgia. It's an opportunity for those children to raise the flag and a memory they could share with their own children.

I for one get butterflies in my tummy every time I here there is a new Mexican Restaurant coming to Lake Charles, with the hopes that one day my dream will come true. Until then, the closest Pancho's Mexican Buffet is located in Humble Texas...exactly 147 miles away from my house, or only a short 2 hours and 24 minutes.

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Gallery Credit: Tara Holley


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