Like a phoenix rising, a popular Hobbs eatery will be reopening soon.
Furr’s Buffet closed in the spring when all eateries in Hobbs shuttered their doors in response to the ongoing novel coronavirus pandemic. When it didn’t reopen as other restaurants received permission from the state to do so, there was speculation it might not.
But in stepped Loi Tran, who’s family owns the local Time 4 Nails business. Expanding his family’s business ventures into the restaurant industry, Tran bought the former Furr’s in Hobbs from parent company VitaNova Brand, based in San Antonio, Texas, with an eye toward reopening around the end of this month.
“I wanted to open a restaurant a long time ago,” Tran said Wednesday. “I saw the buffet here went out of business.”
VitaNova Brand officials did not reply to multiple requests for comment for this story.
Tran has lived in Hobbs for a decade. His niece, Hang Tran, will continue to operate the family’s nail shop.
Furr’s has been a staple in Hobbs for more than six decades and was the first Furr’s ever opened. Founded in 1946 by local brothers Roy and Key Furr, that first restaurant boasting a then-novel cafeteria concept launched a chain today encompassing more than a dozen locations across four states: New Mexico, Texas, Colorado and Arizona.
Fans of the popular Furr’s menu won’t be disappointed when the new restaurant reopens later this month under the name Hobbs Buffet. Loi Tran said, for now, he plans to continue much of the standard fare regular diners have come to know and love.
Hobbs Buffet “will serve the same food as before,” he said. In addition, there will be a few items reflecting Tran’s southeast Asian heritage, including Vietnamese-style noodle dishes and egg rolls.
And the menu will continue to evolve, depending on customer feedback.
“The menu could change as we see what customers want,” Tran said. “Customers say they liked the food before. That’s why we keep the same thing.”
One of the toughest – and, arguably, most important – parts of opening a new business is what to call it. Tran said he considered giving the new eatery his family name – Tran’s Buffet. But he eventually decided on a nomenclature to better reflect the location.
“I think [Hobbs Buffet] is very good for here,” Tran said. “People said it’s easy to remember.
“If they search for ‘Hobbs,’ they’ll find Hobbs Buffet.”