Page 10 - Amarillo Senior Link Magazine Winter 2020- Online Magazine
P. 10

                  SMALL BUSINESSES

        Living Life to

           the Fullest

                     Mike Fogiel

                                                                Mike with his dad on Mike's 21st birthday
         By Jelaine Workman

            f you know Mike Fogiel, you     had three more children and lived    opportunity to purchase Ye Olde
            know he has a great passion for   in Houston, San Antonio and Dallas.   Pancake House. He saw a diamond-
            life.  He works hard.  He plays   Mike reflects, “Dad had a 2nd grade   in-the-rough opportunity. Mike got to
        Ihard. And he gives back to those   education but was a tremendous       meet the regulars and enjoyed visiting
        in the community who need help.     numbers person. He could calculate   with each of them every day. Mike
                                            all kinds of numbers in his head. He   told us, “We have several regulars who
        Mike’s mother and father lived in   started working at a construction site   come for breakfast and stay through
        Benzing, Germany, near the Polish   when they arrived in America and     lunch. This is their social time. They
        border. Not long after they were    learned the business, so he opened his   enjoy talking to other patrons, as
        married, they were taken to Auschwitz   own construction business.”      well as the staff.”  Mike reports that
        concentration camp.  Auschwitz                                           he made a few minor changes, like
        was the largest and deadliest of six   Mike is the youngest of three children   a new menu, about six months after
        extermination camps, located in     and was born in Houston in July 1956.   he purchased the restaurant, but he
        German occupied Poland.  Hundreds   All three children, as they grew older,   wanted to keep the family feel for
        of thousands of people were tortured   were a part of the development of the   everyone who came to share a meal
        and murdered during World War II    family business.  In 1986, Mike moved   there.
        and the Holocaust under orders of   to Dallas to expand the company.
        Nazi dictator, Adolf Hitler.                                             Three years ago, he ate at a Lost Cajun
                                            Thirty-eight years ago, Mike invested   in Pagosa Springs. He loved the food
        According to Mike, reflecting on his   in Hoffbrau Steakhouse in Fort Worth.   and asked to meet the manager.  After
        parents’ stories, “When they went into   The Hoffbrau opened in Amarillo in   meeting, Mike took advantage of an
        the camp, they were separated, Dad   March 1989, and Mike moved here     opportunity to invest in a franchise
        to the men’s camp and                                in January 1991.    of the Lost Cajun and bring it to
        Mother to the women’s                                Everyone dining in   Amarillo. He has seventeen limited
        camp. The Nazis took                                 the restaurant got a   partners but says the restaurant is
        their nearly one-year old                            big hello from Mike,   locally owned and operated.
        baby. They never saw him                             no matter who they
        again. My parents worked                             were or where they   I asked Mike how the COVID-19
        hard and just took one day                           were from. It was   pandemic impacted his business.  He
        at a time until they were                            during the early    said, “I was fortunate to get some
        released in January 1945.”                           Hoffbrau years      PPE money so I could keep my staff
                                                             he met his wife,    longer.” The first three weeks, he had
        A Jewish organization                                Cindy. They have    all of his staff for carryout.  He had to
        sponsored many people                                two daughters, one   stop doing that for a while, so he had
        who survived the                                     currently living in   employees do some updates to the
        concentration camps.                                 Austin and one in   restaurants.
        Mike’s parents had a                                 Dallas.
        choice of ports, and they   Mike's mother and father                     Within six weeks of reopening, he was
        selected the Houston port.                           In February 2015,   able to bring all of his staff members
        Mike’s mother and dad                                Mike had the        back to all three restaurants. They had

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