Frank Torres, the Peruvian world traveler, who built the original Moss Beach Distillery in the late 1920s, lived near the restaurant in a house painted pink. Long after he sold the Distillery, he resided in the house, and one day shortly before his death, I paid the famous restaurateur a visit. I wanted to interview him for a historical piece. I brought a tape recorder but I must have pushed the wrong button because the result was hard to make out.
But what really struck me was a painting on the wall. I call it the “lost” painting because I don’t know what happened to the piece of art. It was a painting of Frank Torres, wearing a suit and tie, with Devil’s Slide or the cliffs of Moss Beach behind him. I remembered that, in the picture, Frank looked large, as if the artist wanted to convey his importance, his power on the Coastside.
In recent months, I’ve been in contact with Millie Muller, a tenacious researcher from the East Coast. Millie is related to Fannie Torres, and she has been looking high and low, and in every dusty corner, for information on the Moss Beach restaurant and the Torres family history. She’s a remarkable woman; she’s come up with a lot of new stuff–including this 1950s photo of Fannie and Frank, with the painting I saw in the Torres home. The painting is on the wall behind Fannie and Frank.
Here’s the photo (be sure to look closely at the background, at the painting on the wall.) Oh, I almost forgot: the Frank and Fannie Torres didn’t look like this all the time. In this photo they are dressed up to publicize Halloween events at their restaurant!
Do you know where the painting is? Do you have any interesting leads on the Torres family history for Millie?
Email Millie: [email protected]