Extinct Restaurants

Maggie & Smitty’s Crabnett
West End Park

Most people who dined at Maggie & Smitty’s recall the cats first before the food or surroundings. Two or three felines were always on the premises, walking around through the open-air part of the dining room. If one of them thought he had a good shot, he’d jump on one of the picnic-style tables in search of fishy orts. But they usually didn’t have to put that much effort into their quest for food. Lots of the diners would throw the cats a piece of catfish.

Maggie & Smitty’s was the most informal and cheapest of all the restaurants at West End. Although some of this can be discounted because of the low prices, a sizeable number of customers were of the opinion that Maggie & Smitty’s had some of the best fried seafood, and certainly the best boiled. They usually served boiled seafood hot—not a common practice in West End or anywhere else in town.

It was not the cleanest place in the world. The indoor dining room was more presentable for those with an aversion to flies and cats. But hardly anybody ever ate in there. The regulars thought of the alfresco aspect of Maggie & Smitty’s as the main draw.

After Hurricane Georges, Bruning’s considered moving at least part of its operation into Maggie & Smitty’s, and may have done so. But it never seemed to change until it finally closed, more a victim of the decline of West End than anything else.

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  1. Eric Hemard on May 21, 2015

    My aunt Margret Hemard and her sister Elaine Smitty opened this restaurant in the spring of 1963. Although Elaine was a silent partner, their older brother Lloyd was at the helm of the grill and deep fryer. As a child in the 70’s I have very fond memories of fishing off the sea wall, chasing many of the feral cats that called the outdoor dining area home, of course eating some of the best seafood and po’ boys. Later in my teen years, I can recall endless summer months busting tables, preparing fresh caught seafood, and socializing with the regulars whom frequent the restaurant for lunch and again for dinner. The outdoor dining experience offered an atmosphere that was reminiscent of a weekend family crawfish boil. They supported the local fishing community by purchasing the freshest seafood, some being delivered just minutes before dinner service. It’s was truly heartbreaking when the doors finally closed due to the death of my uncle and Margret’s health. Maggie and Smitty’s will forever remain in the hearts of the community in which it served.

    • Tom Fitzmorris on May 26, 2015

      Thank you very much for these remembrances.

      Tastefully yours,
      Tom Fitzmorris

  2. Mike Brown on October 9, 2015

    Maggie and Smitty’s restaurant brings back so many wonderful memories … My sister Nita worked as a waitress there for Miss Maggie in the early 70’s . She met her first husband , Robert there who worked down the sidewalk at Fitzgeralds … It was a great hangout for the whole family . My Mom still actually exchanges Christmas cards with miss Maggie … :]

  3. Doris Deckwa on March 6, 2016

    Maggie will be 90 years old this Sunday, lets wish her a Happy Birthday,

  4. Doris Deckwa on March 6, 2016

    She is a wonderful person!

  5. Doris Deckwa on March 7, 2016

    Maggie will be 90 years old this Sunday!