|"Why Ernest Borgnine?"
The obsession took root in the mid-eighties when manager Steve Pagnotta began the practice of roaming through the zany restaurant shouting, 'Paging Mr. Borgnine...Mr. Er-nest Borg-nine', whenever a gap in the usually loud music occurred. This simple practice somehow spawned a cult among the staff and regular patrons of the restaurant. People started to bring in their favorite movies on video tape and odd bits of Borgnine memorabilia.
|In early 1993, Tortilla Flats co-owners Andy Secular and Jean Bambury decided to throw a party at 'The Flats' and call it Ernest Borgnine Night. At the heart of the occasion; the unveiling of the Ernest Borgnine Booth- an installation of photos and mementos which surrounds a small table in the back. Games and contests honoring the gap-toothed actor were conceived of to measure one's E.Q. (Ernie quotient).|
|Ernest Borgnine Booth|
|Over the years, Mr. Borgnine and his beautiful wife, Tova have made a few visits to the shrine. According to Jean, "The first time they came in, we were in shock, although it is not uncommon to see a famous face at the Flats, the reaction was unlike anything I've ever seen." A ten minute-long standing ovation from the patrons, many of whom were far too young to remember 'McHale's Navy', greeted the star and his wife. Their presence is always a major event.|