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Jefferson newlyweds celebrate first year of marriage, business, new baby

By Bridget Ortigo
Feb. 14, 2017 at 4 a.m.

Owners Brent and Diana Strawn stand with their son, Liam, at McGarity's Saloon on Thursday  in Jefferson.

JEFFERSON - Jefferson couple and business owners Brent and Diana Strawn have quite a bit to celebrate this Valentine's Day.

The couple, who bought and re-opened the historical McGarity's Saloon in downtown Jefferson last year, are also celebrating their first year of marriage and the birth of their first child, eight week old son Liam.

"It has been a busy year," Brent, 37, said Thursday. "We are living in a new city, we got married and went on our honeymoon, we opened our new business and we had a new baby."

Brent, an East Texas native and Diana, 27, a Mexico native, were living in Austin when they met at a Whole Foods store by happenstance.

"I owned and managed a staffing company and she was in fashion design," Brent said. "We met at a Whole Foods store one afternoon. I saw her and thought she was so beautiful and we started talking there in the store."

Not only did they find some good, wholesome food that day, they also found a lasting love.

"We ended up hanging out together the rest of that day," Diana said. "And we've been together every day since then."

The couple lives on the top floor of their downtown restaurant and they both take turns working downstairs in the restaurant and taking care of their infant son upstairs.

"I have family in East Texas and we found this building for sale and fell in love with it," Brent said of the couple's fine dining restaurant. "This, running a restaurant, is completely new for both of us but it's been great."

Diana, who grew up in a big city in Mexico said getting used to small town life has been adjustment.

"It's very quiet here and it has been a big change," she said. "There's no traffic and we know all of our neighbors. Everyone is super friendly. It's good for our baby to grow up here."

Customers have loved the couple's new restaurant as well.

"People love it," Brent said. "They tell us they don't feel like they are in East Texas when they're here. We wanted to bring a little of Austin here."

The historical saloon building was constructed in the 1860s and still has the original bar inside.

"There is a lot of history here," Diana said. "The last owner had decorated it with a lot of random things and we decided to just keep it all up. It makes for good conversation pieces for our customers when they are eating."

The couple, whose restaurant is normally closed on Tuesdays, decided to open this Valentine's Day and offer a special dinner for couples celebrating the day of love.

The Valentine's Day special is a $100 dinner for two that starts off with a soup or salad for each, followed by an appetizer and main course choice of blackened red snapper, black Angus tenderloin, black Angus ribeye or the catch of the day, topped off with dessert for both.

The restaurant is still taking last minute reservations for today's Valentine's Special. Those wishing to reserve a table can call 512-626-6396. The restaurant is located at 208 West Dallas Street in Jefferson.

The Strawns said they decided to open the restaurant and share their Valentine's Day celebration with other couples.

"We do get along really well together," Diana said. "We had only known each other for two weeks and we went to Costa Rica together. It was just instant chemistry for us. Brent likes to do outdoor hobbies and I do too and we are both really competitive."

Brent said it was the similar competitive streak he saw in Diana that struck a chord in him.

"She beat me in ping pong while wearing heels when we first met," he said. "I was pretty impressed."

Diana said this Valentine's Day the couple is taking a look back at the previous year and celebrating their love for each other and their accomplishments together.

"Some days, we take a look back at how everything has changed so much in such a short amount of time," she said. "We both took each other out of our comfort zones, moving here, opening the restaurant."

Brent believes one of the things that helps marriages succeed is communication.

"The biggest challenge is communication," Brent said. "There are a lot of distractions for couples nowadays with the internet and cell phones and busy lives."

Diana said couples have to make a conscious effort to be apart of each other's daily lives.

"You have to take time to spend with each other," she said.

Brent said couples also need to take the good with the bad.

"There will be ups and downs in any relationship," he said. "If you love each other, you can get through anything. Communication is key to a healthy, happy relationship."

Diana said couples also have to meet each other in the middle on some issues.

"You have to find things in common," she said. "We have our business together and we both love to travel and be outdoors. You just have to try to find things you both like and be flexible."

As the Strawns celebrate a year of firsts in their relationship, including their first year of marriage, they hope others will come out to their historical restaurant and celebrate this historical holiday of love with them.

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