Happy 50th anniversary Tony!

jeremy parzen wifeThink how different the world was in 1965 when my friend and client Tony Vallone (above, right, with Tracie P) opened his first restaurant, Tony’s, in Houston.

President Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act into law that year.

It was the year of the Watts Riots.

The British Invasion was in full swing and the Beatles played their historic Shea Stadium concert that year.

And it was two years before Shell Oil hired Houston developer Gerald Hines to construct its new downtown headquarters.

I wasn’t born yet.

But that was the year that Tony headed down to the bait shops to buy calamari because no Houston fish mongers sold them.

It was the year that Tony fed his rented refrigerators with $7 in quarters every day (because he had no established credit).

I love that picture, above, taken in December 2010, a few years after I moved to Texas and a month shy of our first wedding anniversary.

It reminds me of all that I cherish in my relationship with Tony: he loves to talk about Italy, he loves to talk about food, he loves to talk about history… and he loves to talk about all the things that make us human.

Today marks the 50th anniversary of his restaurant and Houston Mayor Annise Parker has declared April 1 “Tony Vallone Day” (click here for the proclamation; guess who wrote it!).

Tony, you’ve cooked for eight presidents… you’ve cooked for nearly every celebrity or luminary who’s visited Houston.

And you’ve also cooked some of the most thoughtful and wonderful meals that my family and I have ever enjoyed.

You’re a gastronomic pioneer and a true mensch who’s always ready to lend support in times of need.

It’s been nearly four years that we’ve been working together and I’ve loved every minute of it — every taste, every meal, every anecdote, and every insight into the world of the culinary arts.

You’re an original, you’re a classic, and you’re a visionary.

Happy anniversary! I love you…

2 thoughts on “Happy 50th anniversary Tony!

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