EL PASO, Texas - Before the passing of Hall of Famer Don Haskins four years ago, the Bear always made everyone feel like part of the family.
Thanks to a new restaurant, bar and grill, backed by the Haskins family, soon everyone will be invited to the Haskins House, located at 3800 North Mesa, near the corner of Sun Bowl Drive in the University Hill Plaza.
ABC-7 sat down with those behind the venture Wednesday for an exclusive first look at the Haskins House.
"We were searching for something important to El Paso, a legend, a hero," said Gerardo Carrion of COH Enterprises. "We found the only one: Don Haskins!"
Carrion said he's had several successful businesses the past 27 years in Mexico. But he thinks the Haskins House, his first in El Paso, will be his most successful ever because of the support from the family.
"This belongs to everybody who lives in El Paso," Carrion said. "This is a legacy of one of the unique Americans."
Carrion said he has always been a fan of The Bear, which led him to ask the Haskins family to be part of the Haskins House near UTEP.
"The architecture of this commercial center is Bhutanese and that belongs to UTEP," Carrion said. "UTEP's part of all this."
Several restaurants have come at go at the Sun Bowl Drive and Mesa Street location over the past several years, including Andales, the Paradise Cafe and The Carousel. So why will the Haskins House succeed?
"It's close to the Don Haskins Center and we think the location is great," said Haskins' son Steve, whose family nixed a previous attempt to open a bar in his father's honor a couple of years ago. "(Carrion) came up with the concept of the Haskins House, Mary's kitchen and then the sports bar, The Bear's Den. I envision it being a happening place. Maybe a little bit of history of my Dad when we came here in '61 all the way to Glory Road and everything in between. We've got some memorabilia at the house, a number of things my Mom's got stashed away. We'll be able to showcase that to families."
What about the food?
"Basically steaks, hamburgers, sandwiches," he said. "You might be able to get The Bear's cut, which will obviously be a little bigger."
When asked what he misses most about his father, Steve replied, "There's been times over the last four years I've needed to talk to him, needing his guidance on things and I just have to look up and ask what should I do and in this situation he said 'go for it.' I know if he was here he'd make sure and buy everybody a shot of tequila. But I think he would really love this, I really do."
Carrion said COH Enterprises expects the Haskins House to open for business sometime in the Spring. Haskins said hopefully in time to watch the Miners take part in March Madness.