La Quinta Hotel DowntownLa Quinta hotel, downtown Corpus Christi...in the late 1970s, after a stint at Mai Tai restaurant on north beach, and Burger Chef on SPID at Weber, and Charboy under Wilson Tower, I got a job as the newfangled La Quinta, which I believe is now called Corpus Christi Bayfront. It is right behind what was Ramada Inn, and across the street from a T Head. This was a really nice place in 1979, and had to go buy (gasp!) a suit. Well, not really a suit, as La Quinta provided me with a diarreah colored heavy jacket that had black wavy lines (looks like the carpet still there!) so us low life bottom dwelling busboys could clean tables and still look good, so I had to go buy black pants, white shirt a small tie, and nice black shoes. My days of being a altar boy at Catherdral were a few years over, but would have liked to had those new clothes back then, even with Catherdral smock thing church provided, nothing like new clothes for a poor kid. The restaurant on top floor was I believe called Spanish Main or something like that. Why the hell would you name your fine dining place a European sewer I do not know. But was pricey fare. Steve (I believe his last name was Gonzalez, his dad had small barber shop on Baldwin hear current HEB) and Angel, and me were the busboys.
The view from this upper floor was stunning, akin to anything you find in Houston downtown, or a number of larger cities I have travelled to with restaurant or bar upper floor. The restaurant was mostly on north side so you saw harbor bridge, the bar facing water. Both spectacular, especially at night. The big Omni, some bank building some other bank building were not there so unobstructed view!
I was still living at home for moment, Doss & Antelope, no electricity, no hot water, so sometimes getting cleaned up for job tough, but on top floor, there was small bathroom I would take street clothes, and work clothes and could sponge off and wash hair in sink. This might sound 'ewww' but no one used this bathroom as it was mostly for staff. It was either that or use the shower at McGee beach. But worked well, and most of the bar and restaurant employees knew of harsdhips at home so no big deal.
They had some great jazz bands up here. Sometimes on slow nights, Angel, Steve & me would hurl eggs at the whores next to Greyhound a block away. I was only one that could hit the wall (that wall later some brewery, and Vietnam restaurant) but eggs hit wall and spatter down on prostitutes, we had to stop that when several complained to police and Corpus Christi's finest came upstairs, of course we knew nothing about that!
I really enjoyed working at this place and do not remember how long I worked there, but the Maitre D at the time was a big hunking fellow named Manual, who had a chiseled face, easy with smile. Since I knew all about cooking at home with Sterno, you know, the little flammable cooking cans) I showed him a trick, whereas I would dip my fingers in the can, light them, wave it to the can and voila, the can light up! Wow! So Manual would call on me to come do that anytime anyone ordered a Bananas Foster, but with LIQUOR (like Hennesy, Gran Mariner or whatever he used) and boom! Big fireball almost to room for split second, got everyone's attention, and well, others said "I want some of that!" so they ordered more of them. About $12 in 1979 dollars.
I never once burnt myself or the end of my diarreah colored (looked good in dark up there) suit! Everyone drank on the job here, and I do not remember lady bartender name. But not uncommon employee's had the 'red cup' with some booze in it in back.So one day I was setting tables, place closed, no one there, and went behind bar and poured some Vat 69, Jack Daniels, and Jim Beam in red cup, about 10 oz. Took to back room and told other employees if they wanted to have a drink, help themselves. Well, a waiter named Steven Wheeler told bartender, who told Manuel, who fired me for that, even though he didn't want to fire me. So I lost my job at this nice place, but had no business taking that much booze at once! Anyways, 3-4 weks later, Corpus Christi Police show up at our old crappy house and I was under arrest. Momma was craying and my dad's whole check went to bail me out. I was arrested for "malicious mischief" as someone had stabbed Steven Wheeler's tires in parking garage at La Quinta.
Seems a number of people didn't like him. Anyways, one of the BEST CC attorney's EVER was George Shaffer at this time. He knew my dad and said he would defend me for FREE. So went to court (cut hair and wearing my ex-La Quinta white shirt, pants and shoes!) and some 'witness' from Houston Steven had could not ID me. Well, maybe because it was not me, duh. Anyways, charges dropped. Even after I got canned from this place, I still went back to use that employee bathroom to clean up. And shoot the BS with former employees, so was all good. I have included a number of La Quinta aka Bayfront Inn here...
And a few years ago I was watching TV in Houston and WHOA!! This place had fallen on hard times and was on Hotel Impossible!
http://www.travelchannel.com/shows/hotel-impossible/photos/hotel-impossible-corpus-christi-bayfront-pictureshope since then it has turned around as really was a super nice place years ago.
Photo #1 shows "new" La Quinta when I worked there. Photo #2 shows it from across street behind Ramada Inn. Photo #3 shows small white building next to Ramada which turned out to be good resturant, don't remember name of it. Photo #4 inside lobby looking up. Photo #5 From top floors looking across towards Marina. Photo #6 shows from top floor looking down, please no spitting. Photo #7 shows from inside restaaurant/bar top floor. This view only got better with booze. Photo #8. This is the place across from La Quinta, was a Mobil Gas station when I was a kid in 1960s, later, a series of restaurants, including the one mentioned in Hotel Impossible show. At last check was "going to be" a J P Bombers buffalo wing bar was all redone, and then GONE and razed to the ground, as was the old Ramada Inn same block, so in 2020, big vacant lot.