50th St. Caboose is a well-known local Lubbock restaurant with delicious Mexican and American food, unbelievable drinks specials, and a game room. Before the 50th Street location, the Caboose was opened in 1977 by John and Frank Fitzpatrick and Frank Smith at the corner of 4th St. and Boston Ave. Although this restaurant has evolved over the years, they’ve stayed true to their mission to give locals an entertaining experience. We spoke with one of the managers, Brian Curtis, to learn more about the Caboose and how he got involved.
What made the owners decide to start the Caboose?
"Oh, I’ve heard stories about a guy named Frank Smith driving down to Mexico to find recipes and memorabilia to hang on the walls. It sounds like he was a pretty “out there” guy. He ended up selling his portion of the business to Bob Jordan. When Bob Jordan passed he left it to Curtis and Tony. Then Phil Bradley got introduced and took over at the 50th St. location.
Phil was a bartender over on 4th street when he was at Texas Tech. He was getting an architecture degree. Once he graduated, the owners liked him so much they let him give input on the design for the new location on 50th St. and Slide Road. He was made a general manager over here and he did a really good job and things progressed."
How did you get connected with this restaurant?
"Well, I was in high school getting ready to go to college and I wanted a serving job. I had applied for three restaurants – the first two didn’t even give me a chance, but I got hired on the spot when I came into 50th St. Caboose and I’ve been here for 11 years.
I am the bar and service manager now. I love the people I get to work with. The owners are really compassionate and they give a lot of free reign. As long as the numbers are looking good, I can do what I want with the menu and the bar.
I think one of the important things about working here is the relationships you make with your coworkers. Everybody here seems to really care. We get a lot of turnover because we have a lot of college students, but our management team understands this and we’re flexible. When I was going to school and working here it was great, and it’s only gotten better over the years."
What is the 50th St. Caboose experience?
"We want people to have fun as soon as they walk in the door. We want it to be loud and a good time. “We serve fun” is kind of our motto here. We’ve got a lot of employees who will joke around with their tables, and the customers seem to enjoy it."
Where do you see this business going over the years?
"I would love to open up a second store with a different concept. Something with counter service and video games and parties. I think that would be really successful here in West Texas.
Being a local Lubbock business is great. I love the relationships I’ve made here. There are a lot of people who eat with us at the Caboose on a daily basis. I see a lot of the same faces and it’s amazing to see how people come together and support the local community. They pick us over the chain restaurant next door."
When you go to 50th St. Caboose, you know you're bound to have a good time. You also know you're connecting with the local business community. For more connections to the local business community, download Towny – the free app where you'll find local perks instantly.