Fred Hansel is opening an eating establishment - Papa's Cafe - at Golden Hills Trail Rides and Resort.

Area residents recently gained another option for a place to eat breakfast or lunch, as Papa’s Café opened for business at Golden Hills Trail Rides and Resort off of Highway B at Raymondville.

The eating establishment is owned and operated by Fred Hansel, who lives with his wife Jackie at the Golden Hills equine community. Hansel’s Italian heritage and experience growing up in an Italian neighborhood in Chicago is reflected in his café’s menu, as many items feature an Italian twist.

Everything Hansel cooks is made entirely from scratch, and no canned ingredients are used. The ground beef in his hamburgers is 91.9-percent lean top sirloin, and all of his meats are purchased from area meat stores rather than bulk suppliers.

“I believe in having quality food,” Hansel said. “I don’t want to make a dime more by buying a cheaper grade or quality of food.”

Whenever possible, Hansel intends to produce his food using locally grown, farm-fresh ingredients.

“I think that’s how it should be,” he said. “I want to buy from local people; I’d rather put my money in my neighborhood since that’s the only way to watch it grow.”

Hansel and his wife have lived in Texas County for about three years, after moving from Monterey, Ind. His occupational background is about as varied as could be, including everything from running a macaroni plant, to owning a trucking company, operating a campground, refurbishing old downtown hotels, and more.

“I’ve tried everything,” Hansel said. “If it’s there to be had and somebody offers me the temptation to attempt it, I’ll do it.”

Hansel’s previous experience in the food industry includes stints running a pizzeria and a drive-in in different towns in Illinois.

“I’m an entrepreneur who has to start with zero,” he said. “I don’t borrow money – if I can’t produce something on my own, I shouldn’t be doing it.”

That philosophy and others were adopted from an acquaintance who happened to be a grocery industry billionaire.

“He always told my son and I that when you get an idea in your head, don’t hesitate, just move on it,” Hansel said. “Don’t wait for anybody – just do it.”

Plans for Papa’s Café (which is actually a separate entity from Golden Hills, but is located in the resort’s main building hat also houses the store and office) include increasing the menu selection and adding a salad bar, as well as expanding hours of operation to include dinner, at least on weekends. Current hours are Monday through Saturday, 6 a.m. to 2 p.m.

“I love this location,” Hansel said. “It’s so peaceful, with all the birds and animals all around, and all the great scenery. People who come here will really enjoy that.”

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