Grilling for 15 years

Today it has been 15 years since Irene Martinez took ownership of Dairyland in Sweetwater. She took over the restaurant on Jan. 13, 1998, after working there for about six months. "I was the main cook at the time and I bought the restaurant from L.H. Howard. The person who was running the place did not want it any more and Mr. Howard let me take over payments for the restaurant and I've been here ever since."Martinez says that she loves doing business in Sweetwater. "The customers are very friendly. We have many regulars here and after so many years, it's easy to remember what many customers order."Martinez says that she has some customers that order from the restaurant every day and some who order the same thing every day. "I have one customer that comes in every day and orders a baby cheeseburger. Her daughter even buys her gift certificates from here."Martinez says that her favorite menu item besides a burger is the burrito deluxe. Her best sellers besides hamburgers are steak fingers and chicken strips, which are all hand-breaded in the restaurant.Besides Martinez working the grill each day, she has four employees including Lisa Gomez, her daughter-in-law that works part time, Fonzy Treviño, Angelica Montemayor and newest hire Enrique Hinojosa.To celebrate her 15 years of ownership, Martinez is currently running a special throughout the month of January. See her ad inside Sunday's edition for details.