Conroe’s Joe’s Italian Restaurant pays tribute to Buster Bowers


Conroe restaurant operator Joe Haliti realized exactly exactly where he wished the mural of his late pal Buster Bowers to go on his cafe.

The mural committed to the memory of Vernon’s Kuntry Katfish owner Buster Bowers is on the back again right corner of the setting up, in vision of the staff entrance for Joe’s Italian Cafe.

Haliti wished to walk previous the graphic of his mate each and every day when he arrived at do the job to try to remember that assistance to the group and the clients is why they are in this article.

“I wished to see my pal daily and for him to remind us it’s all about neighborhood,” Haliti stated.

Haliti started renovating the exterior of his cafe in November 2021. He desired to insert symbols, individuals and places that are legendary in Conroe. Acknowledged for his guidance of the military services and law enforcement, Joe’s Italian’s outer decor also characteristics a tribute to law enforcement and initially responders and to the military services exhibiting all of the branches of the navy, the Conroe VFW constructing and the helicopter that is outside the house of the Conroe VFW.

The outdoors murals that wrap the creating also spend homage to Conroe’s railroad historical past, The Lone Star Monument & Historic Flag Park and the Montgomery County Veterans Memorial Park and other historic buildings in Conroe.

But he was most thrilled to pay out tribute to Bowers who died unexpectedly of a heart assault at age 44 in September 2019.

The Bowers spouse and children owns the Vernon’s Kuntry Katfish restaurant on Texas 105 in Conroe. The establishment is considered a neighborhood icon for their fried catfish and seafood and their legacy of company to the community.

The restaurant was released in 1984 by Buster’s dad, Vernon and his mother, Mary. Right after Vernon’s passing in 2001, the Bowers family members held his legacy going both equally in the group and at the cafe.

Buster Bowers proudly supported military veterans and area legislation enforcement and when he wasn’t at the cafe or at just one of his children’s pursuits, he could be identified volunteering in the group.

His servant’s heart made him an outstanding mentor for Haliti who released his Italian cafe in 2006.

Haliti received to know Bowers as they both served food items at regional functions about Conroe.

“I became quite shut with Buster and Mary. Afterwards on we teamed up for diverse fundraisers,” he stated. He named Conroe’s team of independent cafe house owners a shut-knit team like a family that all bounce in to support when the need occurs.

Haliti reported Bowers was an all-all around pretty man. Not just him, he reported, but the whole Bowers family has a substantial coronary heart.

“I didn’t subject when I named him, he was normally accessible and constantly laughing,” Haliti mentioned. “When I’d connect with him with an plan he’d say ‘Joe, what did you get into this time’ and he’d commence laughing. He by no means hesitated or check with a large amount of inquiries. He just claimed ‘Let’s do it.’”

Vernon’s Kuntry Katfish created again just after Hurricane Harvey flooded the restaurant. After the flood in August 2017, the restaurant was closed until eventually it was fixed and it reopened in 2017 and the local community place its arms all over the Bowers spouse and children just like the Bowers spouse and children experienced finished for so several other folks in the local community.

Donations came in from group groups to help get Vernon’s back again on its toes.

Then on the early morning of Sept. 22, 2019, tragedy struck once again as Bowers experienced a coronary heart attack when attending his son’s baseball game. News swiftly distribute by means of the group of his unexpected passing.

“It was unfortunate. I experienced so quite a few thoughts of class. We dropped a terrific man who was gone way to shortly,” Haliti reported.

Haliti experienced a mate technique the Bowers and Buster’s widow, Brandy, about the plan.

He mentioned they were being emotional but honored at the believed of a mural for Bowers.

Ruben Ortiz is the artist who designed the mural of Bowers and the other murals on the restaurant.

“For three days he labored on it and I stood with him each moment, creating guaranteed it was ideal,” Haliti reported. Ortiz, a retired Navy veteran from West Texas, has acknowledged Haliti at any time considering that Haliti came to Texas about 20 many years ago.

The mural options Bowers in his signature pose future to a photo of Vernon’s Kuntry Katfish restaurant.

“I truly feel like I realized him via Joe and all the tales he tells while I by no means achieved him,” Ortiz claimed.

Ortiz will continue his mural get the job done on the restaurant for an additional thirty day period. He’s at present operating on the north side of the restaurant.

Joe’s Italian Cafe is at 1604 North Frazier in Conroe. See or for much more about the cafe.

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