by David Tesitor
WALSENBURG- It is hard to drive on North Walsen Avenue and see Tes’ boarded up. Kids are no longer licking their cones on the park bench, and cars are not lined up three deep in the drive through. It is silent now, but the memories still live on, this time of the owners from 1974-2008.
In 1974, my Uncle Tony approached his children Greg and Valerie to take over. They both had their own careers and running a business wasn’t in the cards. Next, he approached trusted employee, Sally Bachicha. She wanted to own the business but felt uncomfortable running it alone, so she asked her daughter Ruthee and son-in-law Nick Morelli to be partners. Nick thought it would be a great business opportunity.
In 1974 the Bachichas took over the restaurant under the Tes’ name. While the food remained the same, Tes’ went through another remodeling to include a public restroom and add more table space. The business served the Bachichas well until 1988.
When Sally and her husband Jose retired, they sold their share to Nick Morelli. He operated the business until 1994 when he sold the business to his former wife Anne and their son, the present owners. Anne Morelli completed a remodeling in 2004, creating a more southwestern atmosphere.
While the menu remained the same for nearly fifty years, the business changed in a subtle way, as the building retained the unique qualities and attributes of each of its owners. When you ate there, it was as if the spirits of past owners were there, serving up the same great food, warm atmosphere and good old Walsenburg hospitality.
For now, Anne Morelli does not know the fate of her business.
The fire and explosions which rocked the building caused extensive interior damage. The insurance companies, the building inspectors and the fire regulators need to weigh in. If the building needs to be razed she can keep the same footprint or move the building and expand its size.
Tes’ was an iconic structure on the hill which housed the memories and ghosts of four owners, three generations and thousands of guests. Whatever the future brings for Tes’, it just may not be the same.