The GoldenLight Café was established in 1946, in the very location it is in today, by Chester "Pop" Ray and his wife, Louise. Pop was born in 1889 and died in 1971. Actually, Pop got sick about a week before The GoldenLight was to open so his son Charles and wife, Edye, opened the doors for the first time. Charles got some plywood, built a few booths and with some hamburger meat and buns grossed $10.48 the first day. Pop was well in a few weeks and ran the cafe until 1957, when he got tired of cooking hamburgers and sold it to Dorothy Gaulden. Dorothy ran it until 1979. Then Bill and Pat Alexander bought it and continued to serve those same great burgers. Marc Reed was the fourth owner and added the Cantina in 1996. The chili recipe has changed with each owner; Pop’s recipe was lost, Dorothy won’t let anyone have hers, Bill and Pat’s great taste is hard to cook consistently, and I just can’t seem to get Marc’s exactly right. As tradition would have it, I now have my own recipe.
The GoldenLight Cafe is the oldest restaurant in Amarillo and perhaps the oldest restaurant continuously operating in the same location anywhere on Old Route 66.
Today I have many of the same customers Pop had in 1946. They were here when the doors opened and I can only hope they will never see them close.
I am now the fifth owner of this wonderful bit of history. I can’t remember how old I was when I first came to The GoldenLight, it seems like I have just been here all of my life. When I was a little girl, I remember my grandfather taking me to The GoldenLight to get the best burger in the world. In June of 2000, I became a waitress and bartender at The GoldenLight, and I even met my husband here. The GoldenLight is my home. It is a place of good food, cold beer, friendship, family, entertainment (especially at 2:00pm with our regular bunch of old farts, you know who you are!) and love.
I welcome all of you to make yourself at home and remember a little of your past.
The legendary GoldenLight Cantina was established in 1996 and has since become the premier live music venue in Amarillo. Featuring an eclectic mix of national acts and local favorites, the Cantina is known for great live music and its laid back atmosphere. It has become a regular stop for many distinguished and emerging artists such as: Joe Ely, The Gourds, Eleven Hundred Springs, Dusty Rhodes and the River Band, Uncle Lucius, Cross Canadian Ragweed, Cooder Graw, Charlie Shafter, Todd Snider, Junior Brown, Band of Heathens, Wheeler Brothers, Shinyribs, Rob Baird and the list goes on and on and on to the googolplex.