George's

In 1930, Harry Burmeister opened Harry B’s at 1925 Speight Avenue. Burmeister, a former Baylor student and founding member of the Noze Brothers society, developed the small restaurant, soon making it a local favorite. The original restaurant consisted of a small kitchen with only a bar area for seating.

The name of the restaurant changed to George’s Bar when George Betros bought it in 1966. During this time, Betros introduced southern favorites such as chicken-fried steak to the menu.

Betros sold George’s Bar to local restaurateurs Sammy Citrano, David Tinsley, and Glen Screws in 1993. At that time, Citrano and Tinsley owned and operated another local favorite restaurant, the Elite Café. However, Citrano desired to run his own business, and in 1995 sold his rights to the Elite to Tinsley and paid nearly $700,000 to buy out Tinsley and Screws.

After taking over control of George’s, Citrano redesigned the restaurant to appeal to local sports fans and families. It has become a popular gathering place for Wacoans, Baylor students and fans, and visitors passing through the city alike. In 1997, Waco native and songwriter Pat Green immortalized the restaurant’s history in his original song “George’s Bar.”

Citrano also expanded the restaurant’s catering business, which has since been recognized throughout the country by notable figures such as George W. Bush and Barbara Walters. In 2000, Citrano developed the building across the street from the restaurant into a banquet hall originally known as George’s Too.

George’s transformation from a small, local gathering place to a restaurant blending together a sports bar atmosphere with family dining has established its long-standing reputation within the community.

Images

The Big O

The Big O

The staff and some regulars of Harry B’s in the 1950s congregate at the bar. The goblet pictured in the middle of the bar is the precursor to what has become one of the trademarks of George’s Restaurant, the “Big O.” | Source: Image courtesy of George's Restaurant, Bar, and Catering View File Details Page

A Local Watering Hole

A Local Watering Hole

The camaraderie and congeniality amongst the staff in this picture outside of Harry B’s reflects the atmosphere of the restaurant during its early days. | Source: Image courtesy of George's Restaurant, Bar, and Catering View File Details Page

Gathering for Good Conversation and Drinks

Gathering for Good Conversation and Drinks

Some of the staff and regulars of Harry B’s, circa 1950. Owner Harry Burmeister stands all the way to the left, next to his waitress Wilda and coworker Manuel. | Source: Image courtesy of George's Restaurant, Bar, and Catering View File Details Page

Audio

A Noze Brotherhood Invitation to Harry B's

Colvin, Otis Herbert tells the story of when the Noze Brothers invited the famous opera singer, Grace Moore, to Harry B's. | Source: Colvin, Otis Herbert, interviewed by Luper, Ray F., July 2, 1997, in Waco, Texas. Baylor University Institute for Oral History, Waco, TX. View the full interview View File Details Page

Cite this Page:

Amanda Sawyer, “George's,” Waco History, accessed June 22, 2017, http://wacohistory.org/items/show/60.
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