If there is one thing I absolutely love about El Paso it is the local, family owned Italian restaurants. One of my favorites closed down years ago. Michelino's Italian Restaurant was owned by the family of a friend of mine. The Isaacs ran Michelino's for many, many years and sadly when they retired, the place closed down. One of the loveliest things about our local family Italian restaurants is how homey they are. There is nothing fancy about these neighborhood restaurants, just really fantastic Italian food that they've perfected over decades of service.

Another favorite of my family's and of so many generations of El Paso families is the Italian Kitchen on Pershing in the Five Points area. The family that owns the restaurant are just really good people. They always make a visit something special whether it is a quick lunch on a busy afternoon or a romantic dinner. Sadly, the family has suffered a tremendous loss. Marco Rodriguez, one of the co-owners of the Italian Kitchen has passed away. A friend had a lovely Facebook post that not only talks about the loss of Mr. Rodriguez, but also gives a bit of history of this iconic central El Paso restaurant.

As recently as May, I was bragging about having a meal there.

Patricia Martinez

I can't imagine losing any of my family, but losing a patriarch is especially hard. Mr. Rodriguez and his wife Rita were always so welcoming to everyone and made you feel as though you were coming into their home for a meal. They saw so many of us grow up and have our own kids, and now our kids are having kids. The Italian Kitchen is the kind of place that makes a city feel like a hometown. We are so lucky to have known Mr. Rodriguez, and so lucky that his legacy will live on in the little white house on Pershing where so many of us love to enjoy his and his family's hospitality.

Rest in peace, Mr. Rodriguez. You will be missed.

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