John Madden Hall of Fame: Chuy's in Van Horn
By Greg Fieg
It was more than three decades ago that former Oakland Raiders coach John Madden walked away from the sidelines to join Pat Summerall in the broadcast booth. The signing of the NFL's winningest coach by CBS raised eyebrows not because of Madden's lack of qualifications but his pronounced fear of flying.
Perhaps sensing he was on the verge of a multimillion-dollar career, Madden was undaunted. The 300-pound redhead, who led the Raiders to victory over the Vikings in Super Bowl VI, bought a 40-foot horse trailer, modified it to his specifications, hired a pair of drivers and set out from his San Francisco Bay-area home each week to become what many fans regard as television's greatest color commentator.
Traversing the country from coast to coast, Madden enriched his life with scenic views, quaint stops and hole-in-the-wall, mom-and-pop restaurants such as Chuy's in the sleepy, West Texas desert oasis of Van Horn.
Strategically located on Interstate 10 between El Paso and Midland, Chuy's became a key stop for the Emmy-wining broadcaster, and gradually was converted to the John Madden Hall of Fame. Today the dining room is decorated with souvenier footballs, autographs, photos, posters and other memorabilia surrounding a huge, throne-like canvas director's chair which is always reserved for the big man when he arrives.
On those occasions when Madden is there, patrons can join him as he eats his favorite dish: carne guisada. When he's not there, admirers can sit in his chair at his table and choose their own favoites from the typical Mexican fare.
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