Bitzee Mama's Turns 40!
Nichol - Special to Glendale Daily Planet
The present Bitzee's was a small
cafe known as Gatley's in 1972. It was only the one side where the
main part of Bitzee's is now. It had a long counter with stools
and on the side two or three small booths. The kitchen, or food
preparation area, was an enclosed area on the side where the counter
was. There was a pass-through window at the end of it and that is
where we got our first glimpse of the new owner to be - Carmine Zannelli.
Carmine and his wife and mother-in-law, whom Carmine
called "Bitzee Mama", went to work enlarging and
redecorating the new restaurant as soon as they bought it. They
bought the building next door, a shoe shop, and added another area with
all booths and a conference room in the back of that. The kitchen
was also moved to the back of the first part of the restaurant.
When the restaurant reopened (I don't really remember if it was
closed, or if so, how long) it was renamed Bitzee Mama's. It
became the meeting place every morning for some of the retired and
active business men of the community, as well as some of the councilmen.
It was jokingly said that all bills before the City Council originated
at Bitzee's. I think to this day, it is an early morning
gathering place for the leaders in this community. On Thursday, Friday
and Saturday nights music was added to the enjoyment of customers.
There was a wonderful pianist and on one of the nights an accordionist
that had some of the customers dancing in the aisles with his lively
polkas. Fun time. Carmine also had a door placed on the east
wall of the new addition to the restaurant for access to the patio area
there. It was to be outdoor dining. The birds in the trees
there, soon stopped that however. He closed the door permanently.
When Carmine and Jo retired, Margot Gales
and her son Roman bought Bitzee's. They were restaurateurs
from Utah and had owned a French style restaurant there. They
introduced Glendale to some mighty fine cuisine, which didn't last long
because Glendale loves it's good old western cooking! However,
they added their touch to Bitzee's with the western murals painted on
all the walls. Then, they had a couple who played piano and guitar
and sang, and dancing became a part of the scene. Also, they
started the Thursday night karaoke.
Terri and Pat, two fun ladies bought the
restaurant next and Irish laughter and good humor added another
pleasure that is Bitzee's Hallmark. They had another business
also, and the strain of trying to run both was too much, so they sold to
one of the waitresses - Lulu and her friend Kristine who are now the
Lulu was not new to the restaurant
business. She used to come to Glendale to visit her mother' who
worked for Carmine, Margot, and Pat and Terri, and would spend her
vacation helping out, as she put it, at the restaurant. She became
the manager for Pat and Terri, so when they decided to sell, it was just
great that Lulu and Kristine took over. They added Sunday morning
music, evening music, and continued with the karaoke for a while.
Now, on special occasions we have the pleasure of listening to a very
fine mariachi singer. And, the girls have added all the Mexican
foods so special to Arizonians. They make the best rolled chicken quesadillas
anywhere! Fun. laughter and friendship are synonymous with
We treasure the friendships of all the
owners and wish the present ones success, continued and growing
friendships with all they serve. May the next 40 be as wonderful
as the last has been.
Sharpe/Glendale Daily Planet no. 1645.
Bayer, Bonnie Burns and Evelyn Nichol (The article's author) are
celebrating Bitzee Mama's 40th Anniversary.
Bitzee Mama's Restaurant is located at 7023 N. 58th Avenue, Glendale,
Sharpe/Glendale Daily Planet no. DSC06809.
Jeremy Tilsen Isaac Tilsen and Laura Diedrich from Minnesota were
here for Isaac's grandmother, Mary Pirkle's Birthday party.
Lulu Rodriguez brings a plate for Isaac .
Sharpe/Glendale Daily Planet no. DSC06823.
Sharpe/Glendale Daily Planet no. DSC-1640.
Ortega Left, Olivia Calderon, and Lulu Rodriguez - during the
Bitzee Mama's 40th year celebration Olivia Calderon. a Mariachi
singer, provided entertainment for the lunch celebration.
entertainment was provided by Peggy and Neil from 6 to 8 PM.
Mama's donated 20 percent of their sales to and GREAT and DARE
Summer program Lulu Rodriguez explained."Our community was so good
to us, we felt we need to give back"
Lulu States "Thanks to our customers Bitzee's got to
celebrate 40 years of good food, good company and great community.
Lulu continued, there are employees that have been here at
Bitzee Mama's for twenty years!"
Sharpe/Glendale Daily Planet - DSC06805.
Rodriguez - Lunch for You!
Sharpe/Glendale Daily Planet DSC06814