Granger’s in Sabine Pass

Granger's Seafood in Sabine Pass
Menu from Granger’s in Sabine Pass ca. 1940s or 50s

Reader Bill Gay sent me these great scans of the menu from Granger’s in Sabine Pass after reading my column about barbecue crabs in the Houston Chronicle. I’d say these menus are circa late-1940s or early-50s. Here’s what Bill had to say:

enjoyed your article in the chronicle today. I was born and raised in Port Arthur and it was always a thrill to go to granger’s on Sunday after church. old man granger would always meet everybody when they came in and the food was absolutely out of the world. remember that during the war beer came in quart bottles only to save glass for the war effort. remember when it burned and was that a heartbreaker. the wife loves bbq crabs, so I’ll take her down to Galveston some day soon. thought you might enjoy these pictures………best regards………………..bill

Granger’s was a legendary seafood restaurant in Sabine Pass in the 40s and 50s where barbecue crabs were invented. It burned down in 1958. Pat Sharpe of Texas Monthly wrote a great history that you can read here. Legend has it that one of the cooks at Granger’s later went to work for the Sartin family which popularized the barbecue crab as one of the few dishes that is truly indigenous to the Texas Gulf Coast.

There are a few interesting things to point out about these menus, so let’s take a closer look.

Granger's Seafood in Sabine Pass
Front of Menu from Granger’s in Sabine Pass

The front of the menu notes opening times of noon-to-nine PM, closed Mondays. More significantly, the menu seems to have the signature of “Jerry Dwight.” Dwight was the step-son of the owners and is credited with serendipitously inventing barbecue crabs. I can’t say if this is his actual signature or if someone just wrote his name down, but it’s a nice touch.

Granger's Seafood in Sabine Pass
Left Half of Menu from Granger’s in Sabine Pass

I can make out most of the text on this left leaf of the menu. I love that the Gulf Trout was “seined off the beach.” There are still plenty of folks with seines (nets) off the beach even today.

There’s a listing, of course, for the “Original Barbecued Crabs.” I wonder if the $1.50 was for all-you-could-eat, a dozen, or what?

And you have to love the drawing of the fish talking to the “Tender Spring Chicken” asking “How did you get in here!”

The only text I can’t make out is for the “Gulf Flounder” which was “Gigged along the …” I wonder where it was gigged?

Granger's Seafood in Sabine Pass
Right Half of Menu from Granger’s in Sabine Pass

On the right leaf, I can make out everything but the detail about the Red Snapper, which was “Caught … miles off shore!” How many miles off shore?

That Granger’s Special Seafood Platter looks glorious!

Granger's Seafood in Sabine Pass
Outside of Granger’s in Sabine Pass

Here’s a picture of the outside of Granger’s that was posted to Facebook by Jim Rose.

Granger's Seafood in Sabine Pass
Outside of Granger’s in Sabine Pass

Here’s another picture of the outside of Granger’s, maybe a bit earlier, judging by the signage. Perhaps some auto historians could date these by the cars in the parking lot?

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20 Responses to Granger’s in Sabine Pass

  1. “Gigged Along The Lake Shore”, perhaps? Have you asked your contributor?

    My brother’s wife is part Grainger. Too bad they don’t have a stash of the Sexton seasoning, but there seems to be no lack of replacement products:

  2. Mary Ruth Dwight Adams says:

    I am Jerry Dwight’s daughter. That is his signature. My dad was the step son of Adnel Granger and Edna Granger was his mother.

    • Linda G. says:

      My grandmother’s father was Albert Granger ( Grangier-Grange ) from Louisiana and lived in Rayne, La. I don’t know if they are related, but I do know he had four brothers Valery, Charles, Lebode, Joseph, and a sister named Marie. We heard that Joseph had owned a salon parlor called The Nickle n Dime in Beaumont, Texas if I recall correctly. He also worked with the church and played an Accordion we were told. His great grandson now owns a BBQ restaurant in Houston, Texas.

    • My grandfather Leon Carabine was married to a Granger.
      She was a waitress. They lived on Houston Avenue in
      Port Arthur, Texas.
      Would you possibly know who she is and her name.
      I knew your father. My father owned Quality
      Fish Market and supplied some seafood to Granger’s.

      • Gene Davis says:

        Saint James Catholic Church school? And then BBHS?
        If so, then so glad you are alive. WOW! Where did all those years go?
        Gene Davis

    • D. says:

      My grandfather Leon Carabine was married to a Granger.
      She was a waitress. They lived on Houston Avenue in
      Port Arthur, Texas.
      Would you possibly know who she is and her name.
      I knew your father. My father owned Quality
      Fish Market and supplied some seafood to Granger’s.

  3. Helen Keltz says:

    What was the physical address of Grangers in Sabine Pass?.where Sportsman Supply is now or in old Sabine?.

    [email protected]

    • Rodney Lee says:

      Where Sportsmans Suppy is.

      • Mary Ruth Dwight Adams says:

        The Sportsmans Supply building was our playhouse before Granger’s burned. My father, Jerry Dwight had it moved and opened as a convenience store. His motto was “If we don’t have it you don’t need it.” It never made anywhere near the money that Granger’s did.

  4. Jim Britt says:

    I have an old postcard of Granger’s with a picture of a swordfish on display. I will look for it and post it when I find it. Jim Britt

  5. Virginia Senyk says:

    I was born in Port Arthur, TX. Grew up in Old Ocean’til I was 3. Then my now late parents, brother & I moved North to SW New York state to live temporarily with Dad’s parents while Dad looked for work. We 4 eventually settled in Pittsburgh. But we occasionally drove back to SE Texas to visit Mom’s sibling, a sister, who lived in Port Arthur. I had a meal at grainger’s & ordered broiled red snapper. It was out of this world! I think I also had their shrimp cocktail too! I now live in rural SE VA. Grainger’s just popped into my head tonight. I searched through Norton Safe Search for Grain.ger’s Seafood Restaurant & found your column. I’d forgotten the restaurant had burned down in 1958. Some memories stick with us forever!

  6. Gene says:

    Back in the 1940s/1950s when I grew up in Port Arthur our family which included our next door neighbor who was rich….well had more wealth than us..would go to Granger’s to enjoy the seafood. I always ordered the BBQ crabs. I can still remember that taste.

  7. A. M. Davis says:

    Thanks, J. C. for those memories !
    And, let us not forget the tiny room in the back of the dining areas with rows of Slot Machines (ca. late-‘40s to early-‘50s) !

  8. Gene Davis says:

    Donna Carabine and I grew up together. We both went to Saint James Catholic School in Port Arthur and then to Bishop Byrne High School where we graduated in 1958. I can attest to the honesty of Donna Carabine and anything she says.
    Gene Davis

    • Gene Davis says:

      OH! And by the way… the past my family provided me with so many Friday night dinner at Grangers where I and my siblings always ordered the BBQ crabs. I would give $1000 today to have that taste today. Once again.
      Gene Davis

  9. Marjorie A Haugh says:

    Does anyone know the name of the owner of Granger’s restaurant? We are researching the Benjamin Franklin Granger line from Sabine Pass. Here in Grand Cayman there is a gravestone for Benjamin Sanford Granger and wife Isabelle (Lyon). Any information on these Grangers will be greatly appreciated. Thank you.
    Granger and Margie Haugh

  10. NANCY KELLY says:

    My father, a chemical engineering graduate student at UT in Austin with a wife and 4 young children, had to work to pay his way. Thus we spent a couple of summers in the late 40s and then the year of 1949-50 in Port Arthur where he worked at the Texaco plant. We never went out to dinner except once when we went to Grangers which I recall to this day—was there a giant stuffed fish on one wall? Delicious shrimp. I love reading about other people’s experiences there.
    And I have photos of us standing outside in the snow the winter of 1950—how often did it snow in Port Arthur?

  11. Bobby Bell says:

    Can remember in late 40’s early 50’s eating there it was always a real treat. Upon entering you could always smell the seafood frying. Absolutely great food.

  12. Marilyn White says:

    I remember the annual football awards banquet of South Park HS in Beaumont being at Grangers!! I loved the red snapper! This was in early 1950s.

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