Page 2 (Bobos Story cont.)

Mike got a job in Austin at a busy restaurant called The Oyster Bar located at 15th and Lavaca.  It was a popular place for politicians as well as college students.  The owner, Bud Bates and Mike hit it off from the beginning.  Mike, within a few weeks, was able to do any job in the restaurant, twice as fast and as well as anyone with many years of experience.  He was bartending, shucking oysters, prepping in the kitchen, working the tables, charming the customers, he was a natural and Bud knew it.  The promoter was back in action. 


Mike and Bud had been discussing the possibilities of opening another restaurant, this time as partners, when they found a closed restaurant on 34th Street, just west of Lamar Blvd. and directly behind Seton Hospital.  Mike continued to work the Oyster Bar and at the same time worked on new recipes and a new restaurant concept with Bud and his wife, Linda Bates.  That restaurant became Mike and Charlie’s, one of the most famous restaurants during the 70’s & 80’s in Austin, Texas.  When they began remodeling, Bud stayed at the Oyster Bar and Mike moved over to handle the construction and opening of Mike and Charlie’s.


During the construction, Mike called John in San Marcos to come and help.  John was almost finished with college and began going back and forth between San Marcos and Austin helping Mike open the restaurant.  By the way, we carried the parking lot striping machine back and forth between San Marcos and Austin and continued to stripe parking lots when extra cash was needed.  As the remodeling neared its end, I got a call as well.  Mike and John asked me to come up and help open Mike & Charlies.


During those crazy times we were learning as we went along.  Mike and Charlie’s opened and it was all we could do to keep up.  Seven days and week, sixteen hour days were our norm. It was truly unbelievable because from the first day Mike and Charlies opened, there was a line out the door for lunch and dinner everyday, nonstop business.  Mike and Charlies took off and never slowed down.  We finally retired the parking lot striping machine.


Within a year or so we started talking about opening another restaurant, possibly a Mexican restaurant.  We came to realize that Mexican food was a more profitable commodity than other types of restaurants or maybe it was the unconscious lessons we learned from eating beans and flour tortillas constantly during the San Marcos days.  We continued to labor away at Mike and Charlie’s all the while working on formulating a unique restaurant concept.  In the early 70’s the mexican food restaurants in Austin were tex-mex food operations.  We started researching other regions of the southwest for Mexican food, including the southern parts of Texas, the valley, where Mike grew up, New Mexico and Arizona where John had family friends operating a southwestern style Mexican food restaurant.  We would go on what we called road eating trips as far as Arizona.  There were times we would fly, usually two of us, to an area and schedule our daily drive where we would eat in about four or five restaurants a day, ordering the specialty items on the menu or other dishes that the local customers recommended.  We taste tested everything, never eating a full meal, just tasting everything on the plate like a wine taster. (cont. p. 3)

Website Builder