Meet our Halo House Heroes for the month of October, Al and Sara Jara, owners of the iconic Houston bar, The Marquis II.
Al, a Houston native, began college in New York but returned to Houston to finish his college career at the University of Houston. While at UH, Al met and became friends with Halo House’s very own Dr. Nathan Fowler. In 1998, Al accepted his first position with Marquis II as a bouncer and 5 years later met his wife Sara whom he married in 2012. Al and Sara’s first child, Cristian, was born in 2013 and two years later they welcomed their daughter Olivia. After working at the Marquis II for 10 years, Al decided to acquire the bar in 2018. Al lovingly refers to the Marquis II as a Houston “Museum of Memories” and the couple’s purchase makes them the 4th owners of the bar in its 75-year history.
The COVID 19 pandemic began shortly after Al and his wife began their journey as bar owners. Al said, “Our supporters continued to help us in every way they could, even purchasing gift cards to use when we reopened”. He decided that as soon as they reopened, he would give back in honor of those who had supported him during the city’s lockdown. Patrons of the Marquis II are given the option to donate funds so that Al and Sara can purchase meals and then donate them to Halo House residents. In the past 4 weeks, Al and Sara have provided meals for Halo House residents from restaurants all over Houston.
Inspiring this generosity is the memory of Cory Harrel, a close friend of Al’s and Dr. Fowler’s who passed away from pancreatic cancer in 2019. While battling cancer, Cory told Al that one of the memories he would always cherish is having dinner with family because it seemed that it was the only time everyone could forget about the cancer. Al also saw the financial impact cancer had on Cory which made him realize how important affordable housing is for patients and their families.
Al says that his family is blessed, and his main goal is to pass along the blessings they have been shown. In honor of Cory and in support of the organization his friend Nathan assisted in founding, Al is so honored to be able to provide delicious meals to our Halo House families so they too can spend time with loved ones, enjoy good food, and create more memories to cherish.