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