Chris Madrid, the owner of the San Antonio restaurant by the same name, died early Sunday morning at his home, the San Antonio Express-News reported.
Governor Perry tweeted his condolences to Madrid’s family yesterday. “RIP Chris Madrid. We will miss this San Antonio icon and friend. Our prayers to his family,” the tweet said.
Madrid, 61 and a University of Texas graduate, opened his popular burger joint in 1977, according to the restaurant’s website. He created many famous burgers, including the “Cheddar Cheezy,” “Flaming Jalapeño,” and “Tostada Burger.” Madrid’s cooking philosophy—”Cook each item as if you were cooking it for a friend”—will live on through his family and co-workers, who plan to keep the restaurant open, his wife, Carolyn Madrid, told Guillermo Contreras and Eva Ruth Moravec of the San Antonio Express-News.
TEXAS MONTHLY‘s food editor, Patricia Sharpe, praised the late restaurateur. “Chris Madrid’s was known all over Texas, not just in San Antonio,” Sharpe said. “I’m not sure whether he invented the bean burger, but he cetainly put it on the map. And the place he created was incredibly fun to go to, what with all the hustle and bustle. It was dining and entertainment all rolled into one. He will be terribly missed.”
Funeral services are pending and the restaurant is open today. On Monday, the restaurant’s front walkway had been turned into an impromptu memorial to the local icon.
Just drove by Chris Madrid’s. People entering through back because front walk covered with flowers, signs and candles. #SATX
— Joe Ruiz (@joeruiz) March 12, 2012