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Neighborhood Grocery Stores

Posted by DallasCop2566 
Neighborhood Grocery Stores
April 17, 2017 05:37AM
I was driving on Interstate Highway 30 in Mesquite recently and was following a pickup truck pulling a trailer. Both were loaded with what at first appeared to be total junk. As I got closer I saw in the trailer an old screen door with Colonial Bread displayed on it in bright colors.

Brought back memories of neighborhood grocery stores when I was growing up and each had one of these type screen doors with some product name on it. The nearest family operated store to where I grew up in Oklahoma City had a Wonder Bread screen door and two large metal RC Cola circular bottle cap appearing displays mounted to each side of the front door.

Would get what I was sent for and Mrs. Bridges would open a large drawer and find a receipt book with our name and fill it out and have me sign it. My Dad would go by each Friday and pay up. Mr. Bridges was a unique gentleman that made chilli, I can still smell it and sold it in bricks. He also made sausage stuffed into casings which was an interesting procedure to observe, especially when one of the casings would explode.

There were four of these small, family operated grocery stores within a mile of our home, still remember the names, Bash, Shadid, Bridges and

One of the stores put out of business when large super markets came to the area eventually ended up as a Beatnik Joint, called the Black Brick (they painted the inside and outside a dull black). People sat around on the floor listening to weird music and drinking hot apple cider with a Cinnamon stick stuck in it.
Re: Neighborhood Grocery Stores
April 17, 2017 06:59AM
I worked for a neighborhood store while was in school - we even delivered grocery s on Wednesday afternoon and Saturday mornings
Re: Neighborhood Grocery Stores
July 04, 2018 03:30AM
I grew up in Oak Cliff, 3 blocks away from a corner grocery named Klutz' (or maybe Klutts') and 5 blocks from one name Davis'. Many of us little kids (6-7) were sent to one or the other to buy a pack of cigarettes for a parent or buy a brick of chili or some other items for supper. Davis' Grocery would also deliver for large orders.

My grandparents bought the corner grocery and apartments next door to their house around 1950. The Sanger Avenue Grocery was on Sanger, a short block from Lamar and just one block from Grand Avenue. I used to spend a couple of weeks every Summer with them and really liked helping in the store and riding with my granddad as he went to the Hormel and Swift slaughter houses, warehouses for canned goods and even the evil-smelling chicken processing facilities! ....Their customers were all locals who walked to the store and most were very nice black and Mexican neighbors. When I was a little older, I'd often carry the bags of purchases a few blocks for the elderly ladies and they would give me a nickle tip. Memories...
Re: Neighborhood Grocery Stores
July 04, 2018 05:57AM
My experiences with neighborhood groceries goes back to 1943. As the war had impacted people's ability to drive because of gas rationing many women were lugging home groceries. At that time we lived on Woodin St in Oak Cliff. On Saturdays I and a friend or two would take our wagons or bikes to the grocery at Woodin and Beckley on Saturday morning and offer to take groceries home. Usually found several opportunities and earned whatever tip was offered. For a 12 year old having earned enough for a movie, popcorn and candy seemed like a worthwhile endeavor. We moved to East Dallas to be where my older sister would be able to walk to work at Bell Telephone on Bryan Ave and I switched to DMN paper route. Found myself back in Oak Cliff in 1947 went to work at Rambo's grocery on Saner Ave. spent my time there sacking groceries and sometimes stocking shelves on weekends while attending high school. In 1948 my parents opened a small grocery in West Dallas so I helped out there until I left Dallas for military service in 1949. They ultimately relocated their grocery to Irving untill dad passed away and mom sold out and retired.
Re: Neighborhood Grocery Stores
July 04, 2018 12:34PM
There is a similar discussion on this topic called Old Mom and Pop Grocery stores. Since I posted there in 2012 I found the names of two of the stores I had asked about on Junius Street in a 1967 Dallas Cole's Directory. The one directly across from us when we lived on Glendale was Piccola's at 5702 Junius. It was owned by Tony Piccola Jr. The other was J.S. Grocery Market at 5306 Junius. My mom and I would go in there for refreshments while doing laundry at the laundromat in the same little shopping center as the store. There was a small park across the street where I would swing until our clothes were dry.

Does anyone remember them?
Re: Neighborhood Grocery Stores
July 04, 2018 08:41PM
My earliest experience with neighborhood grocers was in the tiny West Texas oil patch town where my first memories were established. After one incident, the children in my family were excluded from purchases on the family tab without a note from a parent. At four years old, I was allowed by the owner, a Mrs. Samples, to put a couple of dozen candy Easter eggs on the ticket!

The Davis Grocery mentioned above by Fred was one of a dozen or so owned by the Oak Cliff family by the same name. One was a very tiny one in the Bryan Park neighborhood in the lower Greenville Ave area where my family lived during the time I attended J.L. Long Jr. High School. The oldest Davis son operated it. The weekly meetings of the DTH delivery boys (me included) in that district took place there. Later, when I attended J.F. Kimball H.S. in Oak Cliff, I dated one of Mr. Davis's daughters.

Many of the neighborhood grocers of that era had meat counters with fresh and cured meats. Most of those would make up sandwiches on order, usually of such things as bologna, salami, maybe ham, cheese. The cheese was almost always longhorn, a wonderful cheese no longer available since Kraft controls the market. Maybe with the movement to small producers someone will resurrect it. It was denser than its modern successor, Colby, and had fine cracks in it. It was wrapped in waxed cheesecloth, and often sold in half moon pieces. The bread was always white wasp nest.

My father delivered produce that he obtained at the Canton Street Markets to many neighborhood grocers, and in the summer I sometimes helped him. One I hated to go in was the Alamo Market in West Dallas. It stank something terrible, like spoiled meat. It was reputed to be owned by one of Dallas's more infamous home grown gangsters. I also helped Mr. Watkins of Red Heart Watermelon stands, where I worked some summers, deliver watermelons to neighborhood stores and restaurants.

Dave McNeely
Re: Neighborhood Grocery Stores
July 05, 2018 06:10PM
Dave McNeely

Longhorn Cheese and watermelon stands had not crossed my mind in years. The last real watermelon stand I remember was at Six Flags in Arlington of all places. But it had all the things you would expect, large containers with crushed ice and water with floating whole melons you could purchase by the quarter and so cold they sometimes hurt your teeth. It doesn't seem like melon ever gets that cold in a home fridge. Shaded picnic tables/benches and some kind of containers for the rinds.

I looked up Longhorn Cheese and was surprised to learn that Longhorn is not a type of cheese:

"Longhorn Cheese is not a type of cheese, but rather an American term used to indicate the size of a block of cheese.
It is a long cylinder about 1 1/2 feet (45 cm) long, and 8 inches (20 cm) wide, weighing about 13 pounds (6 kg.)
To make Longhorn Cheese, at the time of forming the cheese it is pressed into a cylinder-shaped mould, then wrapped in plastic to age. Even if the cheese is to be cut for sale, it’s still usually let age as a whole first."

My memory of Longhorn Cheese was a slightly dry firmer cheese with a distinct flavor and always purchased fresh cut a the neat counter not prepackaged. It was always our cheese of choice for "real" Nachos.

Also searched on Amazon and the Longhorn I found were Colby and Jack

Re: Neighborhood Grocery Stores
July 05, 2018 07:40PM
It is true that longhorn cheese was named for the shape. The block of cheese as it comes from the producer, regardless of type, is called a "horn" of cheese. It is from the horn that retail sized pieces are cut for market. A few months ago I did a fair bit of searching to try to find a true longhorn cheese. What I learned was pretty amazing.

The original longhorn cheese was indeed a distinct variety, defined by USDA as a subvariety of Colby cheese. Colby is distinct form cheddar in that cheddar is "cheddared." That entails cutting the initial block of pressed curds into smaller blocks, salting them, and stacking them onto one another to provide weight to press the liquid out. Periodically the stack is reordered so that each block resides on bottom for a period of time. Colby is machine pressed, whether destined to formed into a cylindrical long horn or not.

You are absolutely correct that longhorn cheese was (true longhorn is no longer made) distinctly flavored and firmer than modern colby. If it sat in a butcher case for very long, it became so that it would easily break, and at that stage was sometimes sold as "rat cheese," but there is another story about rat cheese.

The reason for the change is that the small shops that produced longhorn cheese, mostly in the Midwest, were bought up by larger companies, mainly Kraft. Kraft did not want to have its factories bothered with all the hand work that was entailed in making either longhorn or plain colby cheese. But there was a USDA definition that required all the steps in order to bear the names.

Kraft lobbied for and got a change of definition of colby cheese, which includes differences in not only processing, but also allows differences in packaging. To be sold as colby, or longhorn, required waxed cheesecloth wrapping. Now plastic wrapping is used. The result is the more moist, almost greasy in texture modern cheese that most people know as colby, and that many confuse with cheddar, though good cheddar is a more robust, more respectable cheese.

I will try to resurrect the references that provided this information.

Meanwhile, here is an example of the kind of misinformation that is promulgated by the internet:


Dave McNeely

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/05/2018 07:43PM by old man from dallas.
Re: Neighborhood Grocery Stores
July 08, 2018 05:41PM
The previously detailed my mom and dad's foray into the grocery business was a small effort. West Dallas was chosen as the location primarily because of the demographics. My older brother who had returned from the Navy had an idea, let's open a store to sell fish. We had relatives in Arkansas who were commercial fishermen on the White River in eastern Arkansas. They were known for providing quality fish and brother thought they could ship crates via rail every week and the store could have mostly catfish and buffalo which were fresh catch, no frozen stuff.. So the West Dallas Fish Market came into being at 1126 Singleton Blvd. Worked out pretty good for a couple of years but new items were added to round out a neighborhood market. After moving to Irving ot became a more full line activity and they were successful as merchants unti dad passed away.
Re: Neighborhood Grocery Stores
July 18, 2018 10:34PM
I apologize greatly for my egregious error in my earlier post in this thread. The neighborhood (or Mom and Pop) grocery group that I was speaking of was not Davis's but Neal's. The largest and most known was on Hampton near Clarendon. Everything else in the post is correct.

Dave McNeely
Re: Neighborhood Grocery Stores
September 16, 2020 08:33PM
The Davis Grocery Fred mentioned was only 2 blocks from Klutts grocery. My father R F Davis built the store and operated it every day for 35 years. I grew up in that old store. He added on to it 13 times. We had a really good business there.
Re: Neighborhood Grocery Stores
September 16, 2020 08:38PM
Actually the Davis grocery Fred mentioned was owned by my father R F Davis for 35 years. He built the store back in the 30’s. We had nothing to do with the ofher Davis stores you reference but I do remember them. There was a big one on Jefferson
Re: Neighborhood Grocery Stores
July 15, 2021 04:20AM
I remember that place. It was by OCU.
Re: Neighborhood Grocery Stores
July 15, 2021 05:24AM
mimi2cute, you are correct, it was on North Florida Avenue about Northwest 31st Street near Oklahoma City University.

Are you from Oklahoma City?

I remember around 1957 Oklahoma City University had an enormous fire which destroyed several buildings. My father owned a sheet metal and roofing company that was located just east of the campus and I watched the fire department fight the fire for hours.

I guess I just never understood the culture of the people that frequented "The Black Brick". Believe it or not they outgrew their availability to serve all the crowd, so they moved to a new location on Northwest Tenth Street. Never went there after they moved.
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