We first came to the Big Bend during our Christmas Breaks in the early 80’s. This was shortly after Gil opened La Kiva and at a time when the Penisaurus had one more bone than it does now.
A few of you will remember and will be grinning at that comment. This was at the time that Gil was stamping all the paper money that passed through his till with “La Kiva”. Cute trick and it got our attention. We fell in love with that wacky, underground bar that did the good barbecue and so we ate there frequently when we were in the area. We were living in Oklahoma at the time, so it wasn’t too far away.
It took us two days to make the journey because we had young children (you should see them now). We camped, backpacked and hiked all over the National Park. It was heaven to us. Warmer than Oklahoma City in winter, more interesting wildlife and much better scenery. Add to that the wacky bar, good food and interesting company and you can see why we have been going back, at every opportunity, for over thirty years and now our children are taking their children. In the mean time, my job dictated that we all moved
to Minneapolis and that is a lot further away, but we still managed to hit Big Bend fairly often. The last time was last year when we worked for the winter as volunteers at the Big Bend Ranch State Park.
I was in Corpus Christi when I heard the news about Glen. That incident haunted me for weeks. I used to lay awake at night pondering what may have happened. As soon as the initial shock had faded, my mind turned to the future of La Kiva. I started to think that I may buy the place and reopen it. I immediately dismissed the idea from my mind as impractical foolishness, but it kept sneaking back uninvited, usually late at night. Weeks turned into months and still no sign of La Kiva reopening.
I came across comments on various websites that speculated that La Kiva may never re-open. In alarm, I checked with a good friend who lives in Terlingua. He told me that the bar was for sale, so I started investigating more seriously. Making a long story short, I made a bid for it and failed. A few weeks later I was contacted by the realtor saying that the bar was back on the market. I went ahead and bought it and now I can say with some authority that La Kiva will open again.
Having got this far in the narrative you are wondering who this dude is that bought the beloved La Kiva. My name is John Holroyd and my wife is Josie.
I am an engineer and my wife is an artist. We presently live on the western edge of Wisconsin close to the twin cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul. We are both English and we moved to America in 1980 with our two children. We hail from the county of Yorkshire, named after the city of York and the origin of my nickname, Yorky. We are retired, though it looks like that just ended.