On a night when customers get free food with the purchase of a drink, Maria Evelia Ramirez, 31, can be found chopping up veggies, dusting them with her 15-spice rub and grilling them.

She’s prepping to make 700 or 800 quesadillas for Blue Mesa’s quesadilla bar.

Ramirez, or “Marisol” as her fellow employees call her, has been working at Blue Mesa Grill on South University Drive since 2007.

“The thing that impresses me is the level of how hard they work and how hard she works,” general manager Dennis McFarland said. “They just go, go, go.”

Ramirez works quesadilla nights, and also makes omelets for Sunday brunch. Happy hour is weekdays at the grill, and the free quesadilla bar is available 4 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. with a drink purchase.

On quesadilla nights, there are often more than 20 people in line, McFarland said.

“I try to help her, but I get in the way,” he said, laughing.

After a few nights of trying to help Ramirez make the quesadillas, McFarland said he decided to just make sure she always had the ingredients she needed.

“She works for tips, so if she goes away she hurts herself,” he said.

Sometimes, Ramirez gets more than just tips.

“She’s got boyfriends,” McFarland said. “They fall in love with her.”

Ramirez said people sometimes leave their phone numbers in her tip jar.

“Have people asked you to marry them in line?” McFarland asked Ramirez.

“Yes,” she said, laughing.

Ramirez has even done some modeling on the side.

“Some people will wait until the line dies down so they can talk to her,” McFarland said.

Ramirez found the job after coming to Fort Worth with her five sisters and two brothers 12 years ago from Michoacan, Mexico, she said. When she first arrived in Fort Worth, she did not know English.

“At first it was hard. Really hard,” she said.

Ramirez learned some English from working at Blue Mesa Grill, she said. Many of the employees have been with the restaurant since 1996, when Blue Mesa Grill first opened.

“It’s a close family here,” McFarland said.

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