"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.
 

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