SECRET SEASONINGS AND GENEROUS PORTIONS
People of African descent were some of Galveston’s earliest residents, and although they came to the island enslaved, they retained mastery of their culinary traditions. As Galveston’s port prospered and became the “Wall Street of the South,” better job opportunities were available for African Americans who lived in Galveston and for those who migrated to the island city after emancipation, with owner-operated restaurants being one of the most popular enterprises. Staples like Fease’s Jambalaya Cafe, Rose’s Confectionary, and the Squeeze Inn anchored the island community and elevated its cuisine. From Gus Allen’s business savvy to Eliza Gipson’s oxtail artistry, Galveston Historical Foundation’s African American Heritage Committee has gathered together the stories and recipes that preserve this culinary history for the enjoyment and enrichment of generations, and kitchens, to come.
“This book is dedicated to the memory of Galveston’s African American chefs, restaurant owners and their support staff, who, through their combined efforts, set high standards that ensured customer satisfaction and a lifetime of cherished memories still shared today,” explains the authors in a preface to the publication.
“From decades of enslavement to modern concepts of freedom, Galveston’s African American story is fascinating. African American men and women served as inspirations educators, church leads, and pillars of our community to make up the great story of Galveston,” states Dwayne Jones, Galveston Historical Foundation’s Executive Director. “This publication captures a few of those stories that left an imprint on a special genre of local food history.”
Lost Restaurants of Galveston’s African American Community is written by Greg Samford, Tommie Boudreaux, Alice Gatson, and Ella Lewis. Featuring an introduction by GHF’s Executive Director, Dwayne Jones, the paperback book is 144 pages and features over 50 images, incredible recipes, and unmatched history of Galveston’s culinary history.
Take a look at a few of the numerous locations featured in Lost Restaurants of Galveston’s African American Community with these special author highlights.
ABOUT GALVESTON HISTORICAL FOUNDATION
GHF was formed as the Galveston Historical Society in 1871 and merged with a new organization formed in 1954 as a non-profit entity devoted to historic preservation and history in Galveston County. Over the last sixty years, GHF has expanded its mission to encompass community redevelopment, historic preservation advocacy, maritime preservation, coastal resiliency, and stewardship of historic properties. GHF embraces a broader vision of history and architecture that encompasses advancements in environmental and natural sciences and their intersection with historic buildings and coastal life and conceives of history as an engaging story of individual lives and experiences on Galveston Island from the 19th century to the present day.