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Waco restaurant to celebrate 100th anniversary after pandemic, economic challenges

Casa de Castillo
Posted at 10:14 PM, May 05, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-05 23:14:41-04

WACO, Texas — After two years of shutdowns and restrictions, demand for dining out is soaring. While restaurants are rebounding from the pandemic, they're facing a new set of challenges.

One of the restaurants that have survived through it all is Casa de Castillo, located on Sanger Avenue in Waco. In fact, the Tex-Mex favorite is planning to celebrate its 100th anniversary later this month.

After adapting to COVID-19 safety protocols and expanding its takeout capabilities in 2020, the restaurant is now exceeding sales expectations, according to manager Mary Lou Castillo.

Data from the National Restaurant Association shows that sales are up over 22 percent from last year. Business is building back, but the challenges aren't gone.

"We've kind of pivoted where the challenges of the pandemic have worn us out and now the challenges of inflation and workforce and supply chain are just making things really tough," said Melissa Stewart, senior executive regional director of the Texas Restaurant Association.

Food costs are rising nationally and many restaurants are struggling with staffing challenges.

"We're trying to be competitive with salaries, but we're a small family business," Castillo said.

Regardless of the economic factors, Castillo said the family restaurant is continuing to thrive a century after it was created.

"The great staff, great family together, and the great guests that come in here, that can do it. That's the hundred years right there," Castillo said.

The restaurant is planning a community celebration for its 100th anniversary on May 25 at the restaurant, set to begin at 11 a.m.