Caprock Cafe

Once Upon A Time... 

history bodyIn a magical place called Orlando (Florida, that is), a tired and hungry traveler and his wife chanced upon a quaint eating establishment known as the Hard Rock Cafe. After availing themselves of the services offered by this eatery, a discussion ensued over the aesthetics of the place. The conversation may have gone something like this:

 Traveler:  You know, faithful Wife, this is a pretty nice place they have here.
 Wife:  You're right about that.
 Traveler:  The food's good.
 Wife:  You're right about that.
 Traveler:  Nice atmosphere
 Wife:  You're right about that.
 Traveler:  Good music
 Wife:  You're right about that.
 Traveler:  Good beer.
 Wife:  You're right about that.
 Traveler:  Too bad, it's so far from home. The people back there might like it.
 Wife:  You're right about that.
 Traveler:  Hmmm...is there anything we can do about that?
 Wife:  How about...

The trip and the gist of the conversation are factual. From that simple conversation was born the concept behind the CapRock Cafe.

The CapRock Cafe is an eclectic combination of the old and the new Western traditions, so says Loyd Turner, President of the Board of Orlando's Enterprises, Inc., and one of the four owners of the CapRock Cafe. When asked about the name of the restaurant, Turner says, "It's a play on the name of the Hard Rock Cafe. Our place is dedicated to good food, our Western heritage and our local heritage of musical talent." Turner points out that there is no shrine, monument, or memorial (other than the Walk of Fame) dedicated to the great musical talent that Lubbock and the South Plains has produced. CapRock Cafe fills that gap. And soon, thanks to the foresight of the City Council, and others, the remodeled Depot building will house a West Texas music museum, the local fine arts center, and a showcase for the Buddy Holly memorabilia collection.

How this all begun...

The story of the CapRock Cafe began ten years ago after that fateful trip to Florida. Turner says that it has taken about two years for his vision to come into reality. "Initially, we bought a place on 50th Street with the idea of remodeling it, but the cost became prohibitive. Then in 1997, Panama Hattie's at 34th and Indiana Avenue came up for sale, and nine days later, we signed the lease." The rest, as they say, is history (and hard work).

On December 1, 2008, the second Caprock Cafe opened at 82nd and Slide in the Rockridge Plaza, featuring two large HD projection screens and a non-smoking atmosphere.

The CapRock Cafe comes from good lineage. The same four corporate directors of Orlando's restaurants are the guiding force behind the success of CapRock Cafe. The cumulative restaurant experience of these four members well exceeds 100 years total. It's the vast pool of experience that makes CapRock Cafe what it is today. Owner David Cea at the tender age of nine began his food service career in his father's restaurant, Orlando's, bussing the tables for 85 cents an hour. He graduated to doing the dishes at thirteen years old. In 1971, a new kitchen was built behind Orlando's. David's father installed a pizza oven with sawed-off legs so David, who was now 14, could reach inside and cook the pizzas.

The Fantastic Four...

(1) Loyd Turner came into the scene on June 2, 1978. After graduating from Texas Tech University in 1976, Turner tried several different careers before entering the food service game.
Says Turner, "My first regular job after college was with the Texas Tech art department as a model for $5.00 an hour. I then got a job with Tom's Toasted Peanuts as a route salesman. To make extra money, I started baking loaves of whole wheat bread at my house and delivered them while still warm to a route of about 30 people. This was my first venture into food-service besides peanuts."
"I was a student of natural living (health-nut) and my dream was to open a natural food store called the Alternative Food Company. The first Realtor I called about a location said he had no suitable locations but he did know of an Italian restaurant that was looking for a partner. I decided to meet to discuss the details and that's when I met Mike Cea. Mike told me that he needed a partner if the business was to grow, and in true Italian style, made me an offer I could not refuse. For $2,000 I became a half-partner with Mike and we had ourselves a restaurant partnership. My first day as an Orlando's partner was June 2, 1978. That was a Friday, and Orlando's did $649.53 in sales for the day."

tfname(2) Turner's wife, Karen, entered the scene in 1980. According to Turner, "One day while I was bartending at Orlando's a pretty female Texas Tech student came to Orlando's bar and asked for a copy of our menu. I produced one for her, and we stood talking while she ate all the samples of the banana nut bread I had baked. I invited her to play racquetball the next day. It was love at first sight. We played racquetball and Karen beat me. I decided to marry her before she could hurt someone else. Karen started working as a waitress at Orlando's while she finished Texas Tech, looking to get a psychology degree." Karen soon found out that the restaurant business was more fun than pursuing a doctoral degree, so she took over the Ave. Q location when Loyd moved to the corporate office with the opening of the second Orlando's in 1984. Karen sits on the board of directors and provides that vital female point. (Karen would say the "always correct viewpoint." She's out-numbered on the board but certainly not out-gunned!)

(3+4) Jerol Fanta, the fourth member of the board, was the general manager for Mesquite's restaurant on Broadway and a Texas Tech Restaurant, Hotel, and Institutional Management (RHIM) student with David Cea. He was looking for a change of scenery and came to see David in the summer of 1982. After becoming friends, Jerol came to work for Orlando's as a cook in the fall of 1982 where he began running the kitchen after David was injured in a traffic accident on Jerol's second day.  David was an avid player of games of chance on the best gaming site in Europe online casino.
After recovering from his injuries, David went on to graduate from Texas Tech University with a degree from the RHIM department. This degree has withstood the test of time. David now brings 33 years of experience to the board meetings. And now after 33 years of operating Orlando's, which was his father's creation, David is in charge of operating CapRock Cafe.
Jerol was instrumental in opening the second Orlando's location on 4th Street in 1984, and then he and David opened the third location at 70th and Indiana in October of 1989. Jerol is still the owner on site at the Indiana location and a member of the board of directors. (The 4th Street location was closed in 1990 due to the store splitting the market).

These four make up the head of the team that has made CapRock Cafe the success it is today. No doubt about it, CapRock Cafe is a success. The same principles that have made Orlando's the success it is guide CapRock Cafe.

Good Food, Good Service and Good Prices...

3Good food, good service and good prices are the catch-words of CapRock Cafe.
You may very well be greeted before you enter by the friendly staff of CapRock Cafe. Quickly shown to your table, you pick up your menu and begin the difficult task of deciding what you want to eat. CapRock Cafe offers a wide selection of appetizers, soups, salads, and sandwiches. Don't worry though, whatever you order, you'll find it delicious.


The specialty of the house is their hamburgers. These are not your run of the mill fast-food burgers though. Each burger is one half pound of 100% beef, carefully grilled and seasoned, served on a buttered sesame seed bun with lettuce, tomatoes, onions and pickles on the side. CapRock Cafe hamburgers are served with a choice of fries, beans, or tortilla chips.


Maybe you are in the mood for something a little more substantial than a hamburger? Try CapRock Cafe's chicken-fried steak. Served with beans, fries and Texas toast, the steak is cooked to perfection. The breading is seasoned just right, and the gravy that covers your steak is an honest-to-goodness old fashion, stick to your ribs gravy just like Mom used to make.

The CapRock Cafe is proud of our heritage... 

Sticking to the old traditions is important to Turner and CapRock Cafe. Turner says, "When we began discussing the possibilities for CapRock Cafe decor, we decided to go with a western theme indigenous to the Caprock. We wanted to use elements of the old West that tourists and the natives most readily identify with."

4Even though Lubbock tried to shed its image as a ranching/agricultural region in the early 70's, there were Lubbock restaurant pioneers who strove to keep it alive. Foremost of these was Jugg Little. Any Lubbockite (Lubbocktonian?) worthy of the name can remember Jugg Little's Bar-B-Que Restaurant and its one-of-a-kind atmosphere.

Loyd Turner and CapRock Cafe are carrying on that tradition. They have succeeded in doing just that. From the old chuckwagon on the open patio to the wall murals inside, CapRock Cafe is proud of our local Lubbock heritage.

The interior of CapRock Cafe is another visual reminder of our proud heritage. Remember the planetail sticking out of the wall that made Panama Hattie's so fun? Well, thanks to a suggestion by Jim Thompson, a manager at Orlando's, and the artistry of John Thomasson who painted the murals, the plane is now a crop duster flying over a beautiful field of West Texas cotton with the poetic license of buffaloes grazing in the distance. On the opposite wall is another mural. Take your time to study it closely. Do you see Buddy Holly's long lost western cousin. (More poetic license!)

Turner invites everyone to come and relax, enjoy the music. "We are a casual, fun place to gather for a cold (temperature of the schooner beer is 30 degrees) one and good conversation. This is a place where people come to have fun and relax.

The original CapRock Cafe is conveniently located astride Lubbock's two major arteries, 34th Street and Indiana Ave. at 3405 34th St. in the Indiana Gardens Shopping Center.

The newest Caprock Cafe is located in southwest Lubbock at 82nd and Slide in the Rockridge Plaza shopping center, next to the Chinatown Restaurant and SuperTan.

 Both Caprock Cafe locations are now SMOKE-FREE!

Open Sunday thru Thursday 11am - 10 pm, and Fridays and Saturdays 11am - 11pm. CapRock Cafe is just the place to stop for refreshment and relaxation.

Loyd and Karen Turner, David Cea and Jerol Fanta and their staff invite everyone to come, sit, relax a spell and enjoy the music and the atmosphere created for Lubbock's enjoyment. You'll feel right at home!