Beloved local restaurateur dies

Port Isabel-South Padre Press


Maria Isabel Gonzalez, owner of local favorite, Isabel’s Cafe, died Tuesday at UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas. She was 75.

Gonzalez opened the restaurant in 1973 and it soon became a mainstay for Laguna Madre residents. While the restaurant itself earned its well-regarded reputation for its forearm-sized tacos and unmistakable flavor, Gonzalez herself was known to locals as much for her dedication to God and to her community as she was for owning the popular establishment.

“I’ve been eating breakfast at Isabel’s nearly 40 years,” said Manuel Medrano, a loyal customer who often stopped for his regular bacon, egg and bean taco before heading out fishing. “To me she epitomized a success story, taking a small business and being helped by her family and attracting a variety of clients, not just local clients,” he said.

Medrano also spoke of how tirelessly Gonzalez work, saying, “People liked her and more importantly they respected her. They respected her work ethic. They respected her honesty. They respected her dedication to her faith.”

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