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Recalling a restaurant shaped like a coffee pot

By Myra Lee Adams Goff

Activities at the Sophienburg have finally slowed down a little bit after the holidays. After Weihnachtsmarkt, St. Nicholas made his presence known to a huge crowd of children and their parents. Everyone is now getting back to the work of the archives.

Last column about WWII was such a heavy subject about such a sad time, I decided to lighten up and tell you one of those historically unimportant but unique stories taking place in the same time period. The story is significant only because it shows the naiveté of children sixty years ago and about how adults dealt with them. Read on if you want to find out about eight 12 year old girls who had only Shirley Temple on the Good Ship Lollipop as a role model:

Eight girls who entered NBHS as 7th graders in 1943 got together and formed a club for what we believed was the betterment of the world. Besides myself there was Martha Jo Baetge, Kathleen Karbach, Arlene Krueger, Rosemarie Leissner, Ellie Luckett, Mitzi Nuhn, and Betty Ann Timmermann. We named this club, laughingly, the Eight Date Baits. As twelve year olds, we were neither dating nor baiting. We would meet at each other’s houses to discuss school activities and boys. The telephone was a wonderful activity.

“Number please”


Then we would just giggle and hang up. With today’s Caller ID we would be in big trouble.

When we got together we acted out the latest movie characters, like Tarzan’s Jane. She was particularly intriguing. We were the Janes of NB in Landa Park. Tarzan was nowhere around. That big tree that still hangs over the water by the children’s wading pool provided a great jungle setting with its big grape vines. We would climb up there and swing down on the vines. Oh what fun!

We had little financial enterprises that involved mostly selling stuff to our mothers. We had accumulated 65¢. Don’t knock it; it would be at least $6.50 these days. This sum was kept by the treasurer in a decorated tin Band-Aid box. Well, our money was burning a hole in the tin, so we decided that we would look into purchasing a clubhouse.

Out on Old Highway 81 on the way to San Antonio was a very interesting tall slender building shaped like a coffee pot. It was three stories and had been a restaurant built in 1938 by Simon Mendiola, Amelia Mendiola, and Joe Villarreal, Sr. It was closed and for sale and would make a perfect clubhouse.

It just so happened that the mayor of NB, Pete Nuhn, was the father of one of the members, so we walked to the City Hall to see if he could help us with this business transaction. He didn’t say, “Go away”, or “I’m too busy”, but at just about closing time we all stuffed in his car (no seat belts) and drove to the Coffee Pot Restaurant.

Disregarding the NO TRESSPASSING sign, we piled out of the car and into this delightful building. After much discussion, we came to the consensus that we would indeed buy it. Our lack of money didn’t seem to thwart our decision.

The next day, however, the mayor sadly informed us that the building was not for sale because it was condemned. We never attempted a real estate transaction again.

Some things just stay with you forever. Occasionally I still sing our song. Sing it to the tune of “Tra La La Boom De A”

We are the EDBs
Of dear old NB Hi
And we are full of pep
That you cannot deny.

Do you think I’m making up this story? Well, go to the Sophienburg or the H-Z and turn to page 20 of their “Images” book. You can buy it at either place.

The Coffee Pot Cafe is seen here in the year it was built, 1938. Restaurant owners Simon Mendiola, Amelia Mendiola and Joe Villareal Sr. pose outside.