Barbara, George Bush leave lasting impressions at favorite local restaurants

By Jacob Rascon - Anchor-Reporter

HOUSTON - The first specialty pizzas on the menu at Fuzzy’s Pizza & Cafe are “President Bush’s Pizza” and “First Lady Barbara Bush’s Pizza.”

More customers than usual are ordering the latter nowadays.

“They love that pizza and we ask them, ‘Can we call the pizza with your name on it?’” owner Fuzzy Hajjar said. “They said it would be our pleasure.”

Fuzzy and his wife, Rita, met the Bush family 25 years ago. They quickly became regular customers with their pizzas on the menu. Inside the original Fuzzy’s location on Antoine there is a special private room built especially for the Bush family.

[Leave your well-wishes for Barbara Bush]

“But they never asked for that. They said they didn’t need privacy. They loved the customers,” Fuzzy said.

Once, Rita Hajjar got a call after hours from Barbara Bush, who wondered if she could have her specialty. Rita delivered it to her home.

“Sure enough, (Barbara Bush) was standing right outside the gate and she waved us in and made us come in and we got to go in and we put the pizza on the kitchen counter and she had us sit down with President Bush and her and visit for a while,” Rita Hajjar said.

When the Bush family wasn’t at Fuzzy’s enjoying a slice of pizza, they sat down at Palm Restaurant in Houston for a steak dinner.

“They’re always so happy, always so nice and friendly,” sales manager Lauren Liermann said. “Mrs. Bush is very sweet, she always makes it a point to take my hand and say ‘honey, he’s just going to have one martini tonight, and then he can have some wine.’”

The Bush’s celebrated his 90th birthday at the restaurant, posing afterwards with the entire Palm staff.

A photo of the menu at Fuzzy's is below.

“She walks faster than his wheelchair,” Liermann said. “I’ve always seen her come in and she’s pushing her little cart and doing just fine, sits in her chair, everything’s great, she always seems to be more worried about President Bush.”

On the wall are pictures and a caricature of the Bush couple and other famous regular customers. The same is true at Fuzzy’s Antoine location.

Like at Fuzzy’s, once the staff at Palm delivered the couple’s favorite dinner to the Bush home: The double cut New York steak.

Liermann said Palm’s co-owner opened a new location in 1972 in Washington, D.C., so that the Bush family and others could enjoy the restaurant when they weren’t in Houston.

Staff at both restaurants are worried about Barbara Bush’s health.

“I get really upset, really upset and honestly I couldn’t sleep last night, you know, because I think about her, we love her,” Fuzzy Hajjar said. “We want the best for her to be happy and we, you know, I wish we could do something.”

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