As people swarmed around the parking lot and entrances of the well-known Joe Cotten's Barbecue, people outside and inside wondered whom the famous individuals were.

At about 1 p.m. Friday, word spread that NFL athlete Tony Romo, quarterback of the Dallas Cowboys, and a group of his acquaintances had stopped at Joe Cotten's in Robstown to grab a bite to eat.

"We heard Tony Romo was coming to eat here, and that he was going to come in through the kitchen entrance," said Juan Esquivel Sr. "There was about 13 people altogether"

Esquivel has been working as a waiter at Joe Cotten's for 46 years now. When he first started working at the restaurant, he was only supposed to be employed for two days.

"Now, I'm still here," Esquivel said.

After he was seated, the Cowboys' quarterback ordered a mixed plate, which he seemed to enjoy.

"I think he must have liked it so much he asked for a second serving of our lean meat," Esquivel said.

After the star quarterback and his party finished their meal, they were taken out of the restaurant and ushered into a black sport utility vehicle with black tint, which drove away with a police escort. Some fans seemed to be unhappy that Romo left without signing autographs for fans waiting outside in the cold, but Esquivel said Romo seemed to be "a very down-to-earth guy."

"He said 'hi' to everyone in the kitchen and signed the kitchen crew's autographs," Esquivel said.

Autographs for some of the staff wasn't the only thing the party left behind, though.

"One thing I did see was Romo and the gang leave a pretty big tip," Torres said.

Waiter Juan Esquivel later confirmed to the newspaper that Romo and his table did indeed leave a $300 tip.

News editor Tim Olmeda also contributed to this report