Joe's Place is back! Now an event center with historic qualities


Joe's Place at the corner of First and Jackson has been a fixture of
Fort Stockton history since the 50s. Today, the building is readily
available as a rental space for hosting meetings, parties, events and
“I wanted to keep the Joe's Place legacy alive here in Fort Stockton,”
explained Joe “Joey” Espino taking a seat inside the spacious
“My great grandparents were the first ones in the family to have the
building back in the 40s. My great grandfather Macario 'Ito' Pena and
his wife, who they called 'Ita', were the ones who sold it to my
grandfather Joe Espino sometime in the 50s. Many generations remember
Joe's Place,” said Espino.
Looking back on his own childhood memories, he continued, “My great
grandparents lived in a house right next door to the Community Action
building. I remember sitting out on their front porch and watching
people go in and out of Joe's Place all night long. As a child I would
come in almost everyday to get my soda, my Fritos and bean dip, then
run back across the street to my great-grandparent's front porch. This
building means so much to me, but most importantly, it was really my
grandpa's life.”
The longstanding building showcases a portrait of the late Joe Espino,
which was recently retouched by Fort Stockton artist Evelyn
Cunningham. Reflecting on the memory of his grandfather, Espino said,
“My grandpa worked seven days a week by himself here, just to provide
for his family. This building was everything to him. Sometime in the
2000s, he was diagnosed with Alzheimer's. To his last moments, my
grandpa forgot a lot of things, but he never forgot Joe's Place. He
always wanted to get up and go to work.”
When asked about the inspiration behind the newly renovated Joe's
Place, Espino answered, “I wanted to maintain the original Joe's Place
look, so we left some of the imperfections on the walls. I wanted to
maintain the integrity of the building. A lot of people kept asking me
'What are you going to do with this place?' and 'When are you going to
open it back up?' It was just a matter of time, and now here we are.
I'm getting ready to rent it out for parties, meetings – anything. I
want to accommodate everyone. A lot of thought went into the format of
the building. It's different from the old bar, because my grandfather
had his pool tables and his benches. For what it is now, I needed to
leave the open space for people to get creative.”
Espino looked around the room, and shared some of the perks to the
buildings new function.
“There's a flat screen with DirectTV, so if the client wants to rent a
PPV fight, they can coordinate with me and I'll order it for them. We
have a speaker that can hook up to Bluetooth that's accessible for
clients. The speaker is pretty loud and has color changing lights.
Outside, we've got a nice big grill that you can smoke briskets on.
When clients rent here, they have the building for the entire day. If
they want, they can come early in the morning and smoke the brisket
until late evening. I wanted a nice pit for people to come barbecue,
because that's what people love to do around here. We've got a covered
pavilion outside with string lights. Overall, it's a very relaxing
outdoor space,” said Espino.
On the hinted volleyball court, Espino said, “What I decided to do was
just landscape instead. I was pretty certain I was going to do the
volleyball court, but everything is carefully thought out. I think
landscape where kids can go play in a nice lawn would be better. We
could put jumpers back there, whatever it may be. If I were to put a
sand volleyball court it would limit what they could actually do, so
that's why I changed my mind on that. I want to utilize every space as
efficiently as possible. There will be many upgrades still to come,
it's going to be an ongoing process.”
Espino sheds light on booking with Joe's Place and a technological
advancement that has made the process much faster.
“I plan on opening a Facebook page, but really all booking is done by
my cell phone. I've made it convenient to where I can actually unlock
the building's door from my phone. I don't even need to be in Fort
Stockton for someone to rent it. Once they're out, they can lock the
door and the alarm automatically turns on by itself. Each client
receives a specific code, and the code changes per client. It beats
having to wait for someone to give you a key, and then still having to
return the key back to the owner. Convenience is the priority. More
fun and less hassle,” said Espino.
For inquiries and bookings at Joe's Place, call Joe Espino at (432)290-2225.