Open six days a week, Villa Montez, located in Tyler, Texas, serves Latin cuisine in a historic mansion with an amazing view.
The house-turned-restaurant was built in 1935 on a hill with a view by Malisa and Ras Pool after becoming wealthy from oil found on the land of both families. The Pool’s bought the land from Judge Perry from its current location of Old Henderson Highway and East Fifth Street.
Perry agreed to the sale on one condition: they could never get rid of a certain giant rock on the property. Ras described it as a large rock shaped like Texas that forms a hollow space on one side. Perry told them he used to trap rabbits in that space and that kept him from going hungry sometimes. The family agreed to keep the rock, which is still there today, so the land, about 25 acres, was sold to them. Otis Eaton, a builder from Old London, was the man who constructed the house. He took instructions from Malisa Pool who had a strong creative vision and sense of style. At a cost of $37,000, the Pools built the house on the hill and moved in it the spring of 1936.
With three floors and five bedrooms, the house was considerably larger than some of the others the family had lived in. One bedroom was on the ground floor, three bedrooms were upstairs and one was in the basement.
In 1993, Giuseppe Cassini and his wife, Laura, bought the house and turned it into a restaurant and club called Mansion on the Hill. For more than a decade, they operated the restaurant.
In 2007, brothers Carlos and Mundo Villapudua opened Villa Montez.
Carlos said the house presented a stunning visual from the street and the history adds to its intrigue because many people can tell it was once a residence and ask questions about it.
Today, the ground floor is used for dining and a bar. Upstairs, there are private rooms for dining and a terrace. The basement is today called “The Cave at Villa Montez.”