I first met Molly in the Spring of 1974 the week she opened her restaurant. La Casita at that time was housed in a tiny building at 1910 Lamar Ave that had originally been built years before as the very first Toddle House. For the next six months I ate at her restaurant once a week, and often twice. Throughout those six months I never saw another customer. That is not to say there were no others, I know there were. It does point out, however, how few people came to dine with her in those days before word of mouth turned her into a Midtown favorite. Molly and I over the years became good friends. She often told me the story of her history in the business.
As Molly related it to me, her father was named Jessie Garcia. Molly said that in the '30s he opened a small cafe near(she thought) what is now Danny Thomas Boulevard and Beale Street. This may have been the first Mexican restaurant in the Memphis area. Molly herself opened her first restaurant, Chiquita's Cafe, in West Memphis in the mid-50's.
Like many of her customers, I helped her with various needs and projects during the '70's. Molly and I eventually became business partners in 1982, relocation La Casita to its present location, and the way that happened is a great story. There are so many stories-how, after closing her original restaurant in West Memphis in the '50's, she was enticed by a regular customer, Mr. Berger, to supply the recipes for his fledgling restaurant, and how she then trained her sister Delia to make the food-for Mr Berger's restaurant named "Panchos".
Many who knew her remember her as I do, as a sweet, kind lady who worked hard all of her life. She was amazingly generous and hospitable-as many newly arrived Mexican immigrants found out. Molly never really spoke English as well as she would have liked, but she did not have to. Her food spoke for her.
Best Known For...
Fajitas, Margaritas & Hot Tamales.