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Sparky's Restaurant Owner Pays Visit To Hometown

on November 9, 2017 - 2:29pm

From left, Rose Maestas, her nieces Irene Fernandez and Cheryl Hernandez, her nephew Mike Luna, and daughter Judy McGurn gather together Monday at Viola's on Trinity Drive. It was a homecoming of sorts for Maestas as she, along with her husband, owned and operated a local restaurant, Sparky's, for 30 years in that location before it was sold and became Viola's. Photo by Kirsten Laskey/ladailypost.com

 

BY KIRSTEN LASKEY
Los Alamos Daily Post 

​Viola's Restaurant has been through several reincarnations in Los Alamos. The business originated by Lou Pierotti before he sold it to Sparky Maestas and his wife Rose, where it became "Sparky's Soda Bar" in 1964. They operated Sparky's Soda Bar for 30 years before selling it again to Viola Jaramillo and the restaurant transformed into its current form, Viola's.

It's current owners are Viola's son Ronny Jaramillo and his wife Belinda. 

​Los Alamos resident and Maestas' nephew, Mike Luna, said Sparky's was legendary. Even now, very few weeks go by when somebody doesn't mention Sparky's. "It was just a terrifc 50s' style restaurant," he said. 

​On Monday, Maestas, who now resides in Albuquerque, returned to Los Alamos to check out Viola's along with members of her family. She said seeing her old hometown again was "wonderful; it's changed so much." ​

​Sparky's, she recalled, served breakfast, lunch and dinner. In addtion, hand-made pies were made every day along with roast beef. 

​Owning a business during that period of time in Los Alamos was interesting. Maestas joked that her husband created a monster with the restaurant. "We were so busy," she said. ​

​She also remembered having to hitch hike to work during the winter to serve food to snow crews. ​

​Despite the craziness, Maestas said, "It was so nice; people were so pleased with our food." 

​The restaurant was a family affair. Luna remembers seeing people line up at 6:45 a.m., waiting for the restaurant to open at 7 a.m. He also remembers being paid 85 cents an hour to wash dishes. When his pay increased to 90 cents, he was able to buy his first car. 

​Maestas' daughter, Judy McGurn, said she worked at the restaurant for one summer in 1972. She recalled being a waitress was not her thing. If someone was caught not doing anything, they would be sent to the back to peel potatoes or wash drinking glasses, McGurn said. 

​Still, a love of cooking and being an entrepreneur continues to run in the family. Luna owns and operates Cruiser's Custom Embroidery and McGurn said her brother, who lives in Denver, is like a gourmet chef.


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