The Backyard – An Interview

It was wonderful to meet with the owners of The Backyard restaurant today. Located on 205 Main Street in Pawhuska, I sat down and talked with Sergio (Gino) and Lily.

Gino came to us from Miami. He’s the main chef and owner. He learned his trade by managing a restaurant and steak-house.  He started cooking at home as a child. His family couldn’t keep him out of the kitchen.

Why is he in Pawhuska? That is the beginning of this story. Gino was a prize fighter, and fought for the world championship in welterweight boxing in 2000. He was 18, and very young for that career. The fight went to decision and the previous champion retained his title by 1 point. In a later fight, Gino broke his arm and was unable to continue as a boxer.

While he was prize fighting, though, he saved up. His mom, Odessa, taught him to save as much as he could from every job he had. She came with him and is helping him in his restaurant.

Gino met Lily, a young lady from Pawhuska, and came out on a vacation to meet her family here. He fell in love with the town and stayed.

At first the young couple considered buying a house in Skiatook. Then Gino saw a sign on main street – the Midway Cafe was up for sale. Thinking things through, he put everything he had into the restaurant. That way, instead of having a mortgage and working for someone else, he could work for himself and eventually get a home for he and Lily. Also, he has a positive impact on Pawhuska’s economy, employing 10 people at the restaurant.

It is a lot of work. His day starts around 5:30 am and the cleaning is done at night after 10 pm. This is his schedule 6 days a week. Taking inventory, doing the ordering and getting supplies, opening the restaurant, being there for breakfast and lunch. He’s grateful to have 2 other chefs for the morning and lunch shifts. Then he’s the chef until closing at 9 pm. Sunday he gets a little break by closing at 3:00 pm.

Breakfast is served all day long, and the food is really wonderful. If you haven’t stopped by, come by and meet our newest Pawhuska business.

Congratulations on your opening; Sergio, Lily, Odessa and all the crew at The Backyard restaurant, serving Cuban cuisine.


p.s. If you want to know Sergio’s last name, drop by and ask him while you order a meal – Mike.

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