Cactus Cafe celebrates 15 years of service

To celebrate its 15-year anniversary in business, the Cactus Cafe is giving back to its customers by offering menu items at the price they were originally sold when the restaurant first opened its doors.

Owner Manuel Pavon said that, from May 7 to May 21, patrons visiting Cactus Cafe on Route 113 in Selbyville will not only get to enjoy the Mexican and Mediterranean accented dishes, but to do so at a discount from the already affordable prices.

One of the most popular items on the menu, the fajitas, is priced at $12. During the two-week anniversary celebration, customers will see a price of $7.95. The seafood chimichanga, another big seller on the menu, goes for $13.99 today, but diners will be able to get it for $9.99.

Pavon said sangria is the drink of choice for many, which is $4.95 per 18-ounce glass. Patrons can sip on white or red sangria for $2.75 while the anniversary fiesta is taking place.

“To celebrate the anniversary, I wanted to do something to give back to the people that have been coming here over the years,” Pavon said.

He is hoping that his regular customers that come in once a week for dinner will now come in twice when their favorite dishes are offered at a reduced price, and people who come in twice a week will now come in three or four times.

Pavon said about 80 to 90 percent of the people dining in the restaurant are regular customers, so he knows just about everyone who walks in the door.

With many of his customers eating there weekly, Pavon said customers know the menu and are always interested in hearing about the daily dinner specials, which he usually has five or six different ones a night.

While having dinner, people can listen to the sounds of guitarist/singer Isabel Umanzor. She plays a variety of music from Spanish songs to the popular music on the radio today. Umanzor performs at the restaurant Wednesdays through Sundays beginning around 5:30 p.m.

And don’t be surprised to get a visit at the table from Pavon. He thinks the customers like not only the prices and high quality food, but also the friendly, familiar atmosphere.

“Everybody knows each other here because a lot of them are local,” Pavon said.

He joked that children that used to come in for dinner with their families, some of who would pee on his lap, are now all grown up and are coming in for rehearsal dinners.

“They’ve been coming here over the years and it’s very emotional to see them grow up. It’s like family here.”

Excited to celebrate 15 years in business, Pavon said it doesn’t even feel like it has been that long and he is looking forward to at least 15 more years.

The restaurant where Pavon is having the two-week party is not the original restaurant that opened 15 years ago in the beginning of May. Actually, it was located about a half-mile down the road, on the Maryland side of the state line. The Cactus Cafe moved to its current building in 2000.

Over the years, the restaurant and menu has remained much the same, except for adjustments and improvements.

The old restaurant seated just over 40 people; but in the current building, which has expanded over the years, there are seats for about 155 in its five dining rooms.

The very colorful walls are painted a few times a year, because Pavon allows customers to write messages on them and by the end of the summer, they are covered with notes. On the walls hang memorabilia, souvenirs and artifacts collected over the years from customers visiting other countries.

Pavon suggested making reservations for dinner, especially during the anniversary festivities. To make reservations or for more information about the anniversary celebration, call Cactus Cafe at (302) 436-2750. The restaurant opens daily at 4 p.m.

Pavon also owns Cactus Cafe 54 on Route 54 in West Fenwick Island, which opened in 1998 and he has ownership in the Cactus Taverna in Salisbury.