I opened Winslow’s Café in Fairhope on Greeno Rd.in 1980. Mama Rosie Garza and daughter Rosalinda Lopez opened the restaurant with the owner Harry Johnson. Mama Rosie was born in San Antonio and came to Baldwin County as a migrant worker years earlier. She had six grown children. Rosalinda, a single mother, known as little Rosie, had an infant daughter, Elizabeth.
In those early days Winslow’s was undercapitalized, and with meager sales the new café struggled to stay open….Mama Rosie would often help pay vendors like Fruit Distributing, Crawford beverage and Worley Produce to bring supplies into the business…Mama Rosie would say “you pay me back when you sell some lunch or dinner”
Little Rosie worked the grill, a 24” EmberGlo Charbroiler, I always remember her smile but how she said very little.
Mama Rosie said lets add some seafood to the menu she had learned from Nanny Nolte, a Fairhope restaurant owner.
The small café pick up sales its second year but continued to struggle. Little Rosie worked hard on prep, cooked burgers including the Garbage burger, and made those soon to be famous T-Bird sandwiches.
By the 3rd year mama Rosie said lets try some home cooking from my home. She made chips and salsa, chili, tacos, enchiladas. nachos, and burritos and something I had never heard of… pico de gallo. Sales and word of mouth took off. Mama Rosie now worked the Mexican side and Little Rosie the grill. And finally Winslow’s Café was on the map.
Mama Rosie ruled the kitchen with her spatula, her strength, her recipes and her signature comment “that’s not grease that’s juice”. Little Rosie worked the grill side “like a machine” noted chef Cortland Inge. Mama Rosie, a diabetic, worked until poor health forced her to stop. In 1994, her strength gone, she stopped taking dialysis and died in August of that year.
In 1995, I moved Winslow’s to a new location in Fairhope at 14 S. Church St. but had to close it two years later in 1997. That year Little Rosie helped me move to Pelican Point Grille on Mobile Bay. She also helped in 1998 when I reopened the historic Bluegill Restaurant on the Causeway. She continued to work the grill and made those garbage burgers and her specialty, club sandwiches.
Click photo to enlarge.
Little Rosie worked for 25 years, mostly on the grill. In 2005 she was diagnosed with stage four cancer. She lost her battle with cancer and died 13 years after her mama, in 2007.
Rosies Grill is dedicated to these two loving, hard working women.
The grease called “juice” was love.