Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Thanks Mr. Eure Founder of Mr. Gatti's

I've been eating at Mr. Gatti's for as long as I've been in the Austin area, almost 30 years. I never really knew the history but Jim Eure seemed like he was quite a man, Mr. Gatti's founder dies:
Jim Eure, the quiet, energetic founder of the Mr. Gatti's pizza chain, died of heart failure Sunday night at his West Austin home. He was 87.


To his family, Eure was a dogged entrepreneur and energetic force, whether it was selling cattle, renovating upscale apartments or designing furniture.

When Willie Nelson ran into financial troubles in the 1990s, Eure bought the singer's property near Briarcliff, on Lake Travis, and then sold it back when things improved, Thorson said.

And even as he slowed down in his final years, his wife says, it's hard to describe everything he did.

"You don't have enough space," Pat Eure said from their Mount Bonnell home.


"His legacy is about the product: the pizza dough, the spaghetti sauce recipe and the integrity of the product," Mrlik said. "He really preached it in the early days, and that's what we want to bring back to the forefront."

Rick Barsness, who opened a franchise with Eure in Victoria in 1974, remembers one busy Friday night with a full house and 100 customers lined up. The staff was strained, and Eure told Barsness, then 21 years old, that he wasn't making the pizza "good enough."

So Eure shut it down, saying they would reopen Monday, after they fixed the problems.

"I thought (the pizza) was fine . . . but he was absolutely right," said Barsness, now owner of the Springfield, Mo.-based Incredible Pizza chain. "The Colonel was the greatest pizza maker that ever lived."

Eure is expected to be buried at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia. He is survived by his wife, Pat, two daughters and a son, and four grandchildren.
Thank you for the pizza and also that Gatti's ranch dressing. Mmm, I may have to get some pizza tonight.


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