The gesture of José María Terán is angled and its prominent features. Square, gray-haired, white or black, as her memories, more good than bad, deduce. This ‘Titan’ hospitality has closed the doors of his restaurant in Cabezon de la Sal, La Villa, like someone shut up after spending an hour talking and then his silence is heard. The white and empty cups that are still on the shelves seem to talk to each other in the language of nostalgia. Full bar alcohol bottles and memories, and people and menus to suit the times with the identity of the word mastery. “The Villa has been my dream,” he says, and decorate these words with eyes rocked by a halo of real shame.
Is this the José María what else?
Terán Gonzalez and María Jesús García [his wife].
How old is La Villa?
The Villa is 24 years and seven months. We decided to open it because at the time I tried to buy the Fonda Athanasius and did not fix me, and the money I had to invest in what I invested here. I was 11 years old at the Fonda with Rubin de Celis and Antonio Sanchez Adelita and then here, where I came on March 1, 1979.
Why did The iconic private villas Mauritius?
Because we have sought above all things to make things right. Sometimes we have gone well and others not, but people generally adopted us.
How do things right?
With much love and great affection. It is very easy. Getting started was very difficult.We were in two months Fonda giving only two meals and two daily dinner two guests who stayed at the inn, who were Aristides Quijano, the notary, and a Portuguese editor was in the Textile Santanderina.Then people started to come and work and after three years I had to do a work and expand the dining room, because I was small. We removed two rooms to the dining room and so stayed until we open the Villa.
Why then decides to open his own restaurant?
Because I tried to buy the Fonda Athanasius, but it did not work. So I bought the bass and I rode the business here.
How to start a business like this?
Very difficult and complicated. I started with three people in the kitchen, two waiters and six people. From day people came. Until six years ago, the crisis has affected us all.
Is the menu is as important as dealing with customers?
It’s all extremely important. You have to give quality, price and customer relations. If you do not have that bad. This is achieved over time. When I started it was much more impulsive than I am now. The years go by appeasing and they’ll removing.
Once television wine
Television has come three times. A year on Mother did a whole program of Spain Direct afternoon. Four hours of program and four dishes: baked mountain, leek pie and shrimp stuffed hake and pasiega cake. The other two times has been as a result of the conference pig.
Has fame leek and shrimp pate …
Yes, and not only that. Also tripe, sweetbreads, handyman, brains, tongue … the mountain stew, shoulder of lamb and fish from San Vicente de la Barquera. You must buy quality and therein lies part of the secret of success.
Six years ago the crisis began to affect …
The meals we took down 50% or maybe more. I removed one person from the kitchen and one of the dining room, but I have survived perfectly. That has not been our problem. My wife worked in the kitchen and another waitress, here. In 2007 I had an accident and decided to close for weeknights. Furthermore, in 2009 my wife also had another accident and for some time been suffering health problems. Although well now, we have said that so far we’ve come. We have taken the decision to close.
Does the restaurant has been your life?
Yes, it has been the dream of my life. I started with 12 years in this huh? I am now retired. Many years and much customer appreciation and friends.
Would you show customers that thanks to you?
Look, the last day we opened, November 30, did not have enough tables in the dining room and not everyone knew we were leaving. Wine journalist close friend of mine, Ignacio, Bilbao Courier, who had already been here and had told him that it would close for eight days. Wine and half past three p.m. there was one free table. He got up from the table and saw him talking to people in the dining room. At one point stung a bottle, everyone was silent and made a speech in which he was more excited than me. In the end he could not finish. Very grateful people.
What has been the hardest thing he has lived here?
The illness of my wife, very hard. That would not wish it on anyone.
And the happiest times they have been led here too?
Yes, all, all, all. Here was born my youngest and most came four years. Here I am married and I had my grandchildren.
What has given the Villa Cabezon de la Sal?
That people have to say, not me.
Now what will happen to the Villa?
The Villa will follow. It is closed because José María Jesús María and have stayed at home, but La Villa will be opened once it has been sold or has leased, but I hope it continues. I wish it were a restaurant and help to come, teach him and tell him how I did. Here came many outsiders. We have special mention in the Repsol Guide and the Michelin Guide and that attracts foreigners. It is very important.
The illusion of his life. You now need to find new illusions
Now I love the mountains, I will go to mushrooms whenever the time, eat mushrooms with friends. I have many commitments. Well, we must look forhobby and go walking, which I like, because so far had little time. The hospitality is a slave and you have to like much to make, but is nice and very grateful. And there are very good people, far more good people than people think.