Fran Houser, former longtime owner of the landmark Midpoint Cafe and current owner of the nearby Sunflower Station in Adrian, Texas, is running for mayor in the tiny Texas Panhandle town.
Houser filed for candidacy two weeks ago, but her campaign got a boost Thursday with a semi-viral video from a local woman on Facebook.
As of Friday morning, the video had been viewed more than 1,200 times — more than seven times the population of Adrian.
Adrian’s elections are set for May 6. A call Friday to the Adrian City Office for more details went unanswered.
Houser isn’t a rookie to Adrian government. She said she served as an alderwoman some years ago, and “several positions opened up (on the city council) and I felt the folks needed a choice.”
Ron, for too long, residents haven’t had a choice … only one person running. … I tend to go to the monthly meetings, just to figure out the issues with the city. This election is different in that we have two alderman positions open (with choices), and two running for mayor. I’ll be visiting with many residents to see what their concerns are and what they want from their city council. Adrian is a terrific little town and we have great residents, a good mix of old and new. We approved a 7 1/2 million school bond … and bringing some new folks to town. We’re probably the best kept secret in the country … excellent education, three active churches, a Lions Club, etc., and many folks from all over the world! I guess I’d like to know where we go from here…and to relate more of what the council is doing for our community. Transparency is my motivating factor, and keeping the residents involved in their local community.
According to U.S. Census figures, Adrian bottomed out in population at 159 residents in 2000. It since has inched up to an estimated 167 residents. Although the village has had residents since the early 20th century, Adrian wasn’t incorporated until 1953, when its population was about 250.
The Midpoint, formerly known as Jesse’s Cafe, attracted notice for its small-town hospitality and what then were known as “ugly crust pies” during Houser’s 20-year ownership along Route 66. Houser gained fame when she served as an inspiration to the Flo character in the original Disney-Pixar “Cars” animated film in 2006. She sold the restaurant to Dennis and Donna Purschwitz in 2012.
The Purschwitzes put the restaurant up for sale in 2016 after Dennis encountered health problems. They accepted an offer for the Midpoint this winter and expect closing on the deal in the spring.
Houser opened an antiques and crafts store, Sunflower Station, in a 1930s gas station next door to the Midpoint two years after selling her restaurant.
(Image of Fran Houser courtesy of Guy Randall)