News Article

Highway to Heaven

Talking to the locals at the Club Cafe -- We talk to the diners in the cafe Michael Wallis calls ''a significant establishment since 1935''

In his book Route 66, Michael Wallis calls the Club Cafe in Santa Rosa, N.M., ''a significant establishment since 1935.'' The Club Cafe is still a must stop on the way west, both for its hearty Mexican food and its prewar decor. On a weekday morning we asked some of the folks in the cafe (quoted from left to right in foreground) how they get their kicks on Route 66.

Bozo Cordova,Car Repair Service:
''Oh, man, you know, we used to hot rod right on Old 66! That's right! We used to just stop the traffic. No more, man. I just fix people's cars that break down every day.''

Michael Esquibel, Runs Local Radio Station:
''I get my kicks by trying to lure people back onto Old 66 here. When we were kids, we'd just stand up there on that hill and look down on all the traffic.''

Santiago Chavez, Cafe club Owner and Artist:
''Our most precious possession here is time. In a small town like ours, 24 hours is like 48 anywhere else. People come here by the millions, and they like to talk about their lives. That's what makes this 66.''

Mary Ellis, Cashier, Club Cafe:
''You meet people from all walks of life. They all have the same need. They need to be loved. They're all hungry, just for a smile.''

Dan Ulibarri, Retired:
''What pleases me is helping out around the cafe. I could have traveled. But I'd rather stay here and see what happens. I've seen everything.''

Ron Chavez, Owner, Club Cafe:
''What gives me my kick is to see joy on people's faces, the joy that comes from having your appetite satisfied. You can fill your belly. But to be satisfied, that is something else.''

Lt. Freddy Moncayo, Santa Rosa Police:
''When I was a kid here, before the freeway, it would take you 15 minutes just to cross the road. We still have enough traffic to suit me.''

Originally posted May 25, 1990 Published in issue #15 May 25, 1990 Order article reprints
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