Raise your hand if you love Orlando's Italian Restaurant. This month, both Orlando's locations in Lubbock celebrate anniversaries, so I am declaring October as Orlando's Restaurant Month, because I can under my own authority.

The Orlando's Italian Restaurant on Indiana Ave. is celebrating its 30th anniversary this month, and the Avenue Q location recently celebrated its 54th year of operation. Talk about longevity!

When anyone visits or moves to Lubbock, I always make sure to mention one of my favorite local restaurants, Orlando's (or Caprock Cafe). It's not only my favorite go-to when it comes to Italian food, but it's also a great environment to take the out-of-towners when they make it to the Hub City for the holidays because of the great atmosphere.

From the famous Mafia Queso to the Cheeseburger in Paradise, Orlando's, voted one of the best in the Lone Star State by Texas Monthly Magazine, offer an enormous buffet to please any appetite. But the food is only part of the reason why I love the restaurants.

The owners are what really make Orlando's a family restaurant. If you don't know David and Cheryl Cea, or Loyd and Karen Turner, then you truly are missing out on great people. If you do know the Cea or Turner families, then you already know that Lubbock is a lucky town to have such wonderful business owners among us.

My family is proud to be a small part of the Orlando’s group, having been one of many contractors hired to maintain and keep the restaurants looking sharp, but the group includes more than 350 employees across the area. The footprint of Orlando’s is large in Lubbock and they are home-grown and locally-owned, providing a great deal of support for the community in a number of different ways.

I hope that you'll stop by one of the Orlando’s locations during Orlando's Month and wish them all a happy anniversary.

Here's the press release announcing the Indiana location's 30th Anniversary:

LUBBOCK, Texas – Orlando’s Italian Restaurant is excited to be celebrating 30 years at their Indiana location, located at 6951 Indiana Ave! Orlando’s Italian Restaurant is Lubbock’s oldest full-service restaurant. In 1965, Mike Cea opened the first Orlando’s location at 2402 Ave. Q. His 9-year old son David stood on cases of tomato paste to reach the pizzas in the oven when he was cooking. In 1978, Loyd Turner bought into Orlando’s. Karen Turner joined Mike, David, and Loyd at Orlando’s in 1980. Jerol joined Orlando’s in 1984 and opened the second location, which used to be on 4th Street. Jerol’s wife Heather and David’s wife Cheryl became corporate secretaries later on. Today, more than 350 employees are spread out between four restaurants owned through a partnership between Loyd and Karen Turner, David and Cheryl Cea, and Jerol and Heather Fanta. Adrian Crosby, a Texas Tech MIS graduate, is CIO and President-Elect. Adrian has been with Orlando’s Italian Restaurant since 1996. “Orlando's growth has been phenomenal, which I think is due to a simple management philosophy--we treat people like we would want to be treated” explained Loyd Turner. “I think a servant's attitude is the foundation for a successful restaurant. Jesus was asked what the greatest commandment was. His answer--"You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, soul, and mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Partner, Jerol Fanta, says he is thankful for the years of trust and faith their guests have had in Orlando’s. “We know that our success is a direct response from those who have eaten with Orlando’s and who continue to come back and dine with us and order delivery and take-out again and again. This past weekend was Homecoming and we were able to host many guests and ex-employees who came back for a visit- along with our regulars! Thank you, Lubbock, for making our stores a success!” Orlando’s continues to be a Lubbock favorite, winning the Best of Lubbock for Best Italian Food, Best Restaurant Take-Out, and Best Delivery year after year. Both Orlando’s Italian Restaurant locations, 6951 Indiana Ave and 2402 Avenue Q, will be celebrating the anniversary on Wednesday, October 23. To learn more about Orlando’s Italian Restaurant visit us at orlandos.com.