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A series spotlighting locally-owned restaurants adjusting to the pandemic
Diaz Diner stayed open throughout the height of the restrictions placed over the county in order to ensure employees remained able to support themselves.
Originally opened in 1995, Diaz Diner is a well-known establishment in Mission. Owner Eduardo Pinto said that their services were altered in response to the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic.
“Last month we were just open through the drive thru,” Pinto said. “Half of my employees weren’t working.”
Diaz Diner, which serves up authentic Mexican food, was available through their drive thru window and for pick-up throughout the pandemic. Now that restrictions have slowly begun being lifted in Texas, they have re-opened their dining area.
“Now we have a 25 percent capacity when we’re open,” Pinto said of the temporary restrictions still in place. “It was most difficult for my employees, because I was just able to give them a few hours.”
Staying open, even with limited services, was necessary for Pinto.
“We were open just to pay our employees,” Pinto said. “With just the drive thru, it’s not enough to pay all your bills.”
Pinto said their entire staff missed the community atmosphere at Diaz Diner, noting it was jarring to see the tables empty when they first had to close.
“We miss everybody,” Pinto said. “We really enjoy the atmosphere here, so we hope to go back to full capacity, the usual, in a few months.”
Pinto spoke on the importance of supporting local businesses.
“The same way that other people are helping us out, we’re trying to do the same with all our local businesses,” Pinto said. “Big organizations have the government, and a whole bunch of people that can help them out. All the local businesses, though, we don’t have anyone here to help us out.”
Diaz Diner has specials every day, that vary from calabaza con pollo to enchiladas suizas, chicken fried steak to chicken salad with grapes and pollo en mole. Pinto said he hopes Mission residents know that their restaurant will always be there to serve the community at large.
“Everything’s going to be different now, that’s our new reality,” Pinto said. “We’re here, open for everyone, and we’re trying to do our best to keep everyone safe.”