Static and its colleagues eat with artery-clogging regularity at the various Mexican restaurants on North Main Street. Those places for many years were the domain of former Fort Worth City Council member Louis Zapata, who liked nothing better than to spend the early part of his day holding court at Nuevo Leon, Los Paisanos, Esperanza’s, or one of the other eateries not far from his home. During the final years of his life, he’d sit at a table, wait for familiar faces to come through the door, hail them over, and bend their ears about city politics, a topic dear to his heart.
Zapata was the city’s first Hispanic council member, representing his beloved Northside district for 14 years before being voted out of office in 1991. Zapata remained a prominent Northside voice, often working behind the scenes. Most recently, he served as campaign treasurer for Jim Lane’s unsuccessful bid to unseat Sal Espino from the council last year.
Zapata died on April 4 after a long illness. He was 79.
A Weekly staffer once asked Zapata which Northside restaurant was his favorite for lunch. He hesitated because, he said, he liked to visit all of them. But when pressed, Zapata finally relented and named his favorite. The Weekly has kept this vital information secret for years, but now that Zapata is gone, it’s finally OK to reveal his No. 1 pick: Amy’s Restaurant, at 1537 N. Main St.
Static called owner Amy Flores, who was touched but not surprised to hear that Zapata had bragged on her cooking. She opened Amy’s Restaurant seven years ago and Zapata was one of her first customers.
“About 30 percent of my customers come from Louis,” Flores said. “He’d say to people that my food is good, and he brought a lot of people from [city hall].”
And The Winner Isn’t…
If a daily newspaper’s health can be gauged by how well it fares at the annual Texas Associated Press Managing Editors journalism awards convention, then the Fort Worth Star-Telegram is looking a bit green around the gills these days. The event was held Saturday on South Padre Island and attracted submissions from all of the mainstream dailies around the state.
The Dallas Morning News, San Antonio Express-News, Houston Chronicle, and Austin American-Statesman nabbed an assortment of first- and second-place prizes in the various writing categories. The Star-Telegram, on the other hand, found itself staring at a bunch of third places and honorable mentions.
The financially strapped McClatchy, which owns the Star-Telegram, has been decimating its newsrooms for years. News coverage has suffered as writers have been fired or laid off, or simply fled in advance of the hatchet. Morale is lower than a snake’s bellybutton.
On the bright side, the Startlegram did manage to nab first-place prizes in the page design and video categories. Pop the corks!