Honoring Irma: Houston restaurant legend’s family works to get street renamed in her honor

Houston, TX. – Houston restaurant legend Irma Galvan turns 80 years old on Saturday and her family has a big celebration planned for her.

In addition to a party on Sunday, loved ones, along with many of her friends in the community, are pushing to have the street where she built her business renamed in her honor. However, the effort is hitting a bit of a roadblock.

The restauranteur is one of downtown Houston’s all-stars. Her award-winning restaurant, Irma’s Original, on Chenevert has been a staple for more than 30 years.

“She’s been such a huge driver of this area: downtown Chenevert, Franklin [and] this side of the stadium,” said Irma’s son, Louis Galvan. “Before she got there, nobody was there.”

Louis Galvan said his family wants to honor their mom by renaming the two blocks from Minute Maid Park leading up to her restaurant ‘Irma Galvan Way.’

“I just think it’s a great accomplishment on her behalf,” he said. “The people downtown know how hard she’s worked to make this part of downtown what it is.”

That includes Senator John Whitmire.

“Irma is a true ambassador for the City of Houston,” Whitmire said. He credits her with helping him to convince Texas lawmakers back in the late 1990′s to approve legislation that would ultimately help fund Minute Maid Park and spur economic development in the area.

“Irma was able to tell a Senate committee that it would mean so much to East Houston. Irma just framed the issue like no one else could. She made a difference in building the ballpark,” Whitmire said.

In order for Houston City Council to sign off on the name change, her son said they need the property owner across the street from Irma’s Original to get on board.

KPRC 2 has talked to two of the property managers at the building across the street. They said they will reach out to the property owner to get his stance on the issue and will get back to us.

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