HARRISON FORD MAKES PIT STOP

July 25, 2001 11:00 pm

By Rachel Wesche

Observer Intern

I recognized him as soon as he walked in, said Irma Robles of

La Fiesta Family Mexican Restaurant in La Grande.

At first I wasnt going to make a big deal, but then I thought nobody would believe me if I didnt say something.

Robles was understandably surprised Sunday afternoon when actor Harrison Ford walked into the restaurant and requested a table for himself and four friends.

Thinking that he must be tired of constantly being recognized, Robles didnt let on that she knew him, and seated him and the others in a secluded corner booth.

I was very excited, she said, but I wanted to treat him like any other person.

The actor had a healthy appetite and a good knowledge of Mexican cuisine, said Robles.

He asked for the real Mexican food, she said, and remembers that he requested Rancho beans and shredded beef instead of the standard refried beans and ground beef.

He ordered a large meal including an enchilada, a taco, a tostada and a chile relleno, with rice and beans on the side.

He really liked the food, said Robles. He ate every little bit of it.

He also ordered 12 tamales to take with him.

He had a good lunch until he stood up to leave, said Robles.

That was a when other patrons, including Wade Bissonnett and his family, noticed him.

When he stood up, he didnt have his sunglasses on, so I recognized him at once, said Bissonnett.

Ford quickly masked himself, putting on his sunglasses and pulling his baseball cap down low.

He didnt want to overwhelm anyone, said Bissonnett.

Not wanting to waste an opportunity, however, Bissonnett sent his 7-year-old son Quincey to shake the stars hand.

Hi, Indiana Jones, said the boy, referring to Fords well-known movie role.

Ford shook Quinceys hand and said, See ya later, buddy, according to Bissonnett.

As Ford paid his bill, Robles finally couldnt resist letting him know that she recognized him, and wrote Sr. Ford on his receipt beneath the usual Gracias, Amigos.

Ford and his companions visited La Grande during a fuel stop at the Union County Airport. He was flying a plane from Seattle to his home in Jackson Hole, Wyo., according to Doug Wearous, who assisted him at the airport.

Ford borrowed one of the airports courtesy cars to go into town for lunch, and Wearous recommended several restaurants, including La Fiesta, to him.

He was real friendly, said Wearous. Ford graciously autographed the StarWars video Wearous daughter brought him.

Robles also said he was very nice, and that he left a very nice tip.

Restaurant patrons were thrilled to have eaten alongside Ford. According to Robles, one man asked to sit in the same seat Ford occupied.

It was very exciting to see a real actor, said 10-year-old Sammy Bissonnett.

But, she added, If it were Meg Ryan or somebody like that, Id be jumping off the wall.