Meet the new owner of Del’s Restaurant!

pattern stories
Written by:
Ed Domain

Let the Cow above the Neon guide you to Del’s. 

“Owning Del’s is a dream come true,” Chase told me. “I’m back home in Tucumcari, I love making my town better, and the community supports us. Del’s has brought a lot of happiness here, and I’m excited about our future.” 

During the rollicking history of Route 66, America’s Mother Road, people used to be able to follow the Neon lighting to locations. Neon was synonymous with Route 66, and since 1956 Del’s Restaurant in Tucumcari, New Mexico is no exception. 

These days, Tucumcari is experiencing a bit of a renaissance, and there is a new grant program encouraging restaurants to bring back the Neon. 

Del’s, with it’s signature Hereford Bull and it’s neon lights, have always guided people to dinner, and today is no different.

Actually, that statement isn’t entirely true. There is something definitely different about Del’s, and that’s its new owner!

Chase Waters returned home to Tucumcari to purchase the place where he worked as a 16-year-old high school student: Del’s Restaurant. 

Del’s new owner, Chase Waters with Del’s manager, Stephanie.


Back in 1956, Del Akin started, then owned and operated Del’s Restaurant until 1978 when he sold it to his secretary, Jessica Braziel.

At the time, Del was skeptical “a woman could run a restaurant,” but the rest, as they say, is history. 

Jessica ran Del’s, then sold it, then got it back, leased it out, and in 1995 her daughters Yvonne and Yvette returned home and bought Del’s to keep the family tradition alive.

Back when he was 16, Chase Waters was a high school student and started his working life at Del’s, and really enjoyed the experience.

After graduating high school and starting his adult life, Chase moved away for a few years. 

He took his experience at Del’s and worked in the restaurant industry, growing in experience and learning every facet of the business.  When he saw an opportunity to buy Del’s from his old bosses, he jumped at the chance to come home and help play a part in the revitalization of his town.


Chase is taking a light touch in regards to change at Del’s, as there isn’t much point in fixing something that isn’t broken. 

Locals love Del’s, and on my first night in Tucumcari I enjoyed a steak dinner there. (Any place with a Hereford on the roof is a sign of good steak.)

The original flagstone floor remains, and the look fits Tucumcari. 

Chase did change the uniforms to cowboy hats, neckerchiefs and other western wear, and the look has proved popular.

People getting married hold their receptions at Del’s and different groups in the community do too. 


“Owning Del’s is a dream come true,” Chase told me. “I’m back home in Tucumcari, I love making my town better, and the community supports us. Del’s has brought a lot of happiness here, and I’m excited about our future.” 

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