26 & 27. Noe's Cafe & Mario's Barber shop

This was a small, old, strip center on the north side of Leopard up against Coca Cola. Yes there was a narrow passage between two properties, why I do not know as was filled with small, forgotten trees, trash, possums and rats. For us kids, we were about only ones that could fit back there. But some well fed rodents, just like behind Beil's across street trash area enclosure next to tracks, and also HEB on corner of Port & Leopard, we would catch the rats or mice, wait for stop light to change, then as cars came down street, tossed them into traffic right in front of cats, sometimes they flattened ha ha, other times did get away, curses on you Ratouille. Noe's I knew a Noe who when I was about 7 or 8 he was already a teen, maybe 17-18, and used to play baseball with a number of hood kids, myself included at the oyster shale flat lot in front of our house at 723 Doss. But I do not know if he was related to owner. Inside this place banked from mostly Coca Cola employees, great big breakfast ham, eggs, bacon or sausage with eggs, toast for $1.25. Coffee was quarter. My two pieces of toast was 10 cents here too like at Hasty Tasty.

But I rarely went in here. The cigarette smoke battled smoke from bacon, quite a mix. Probably toxic but what the hell, smelled great. Even waitresses smoked. But for MY two pieces of toast, I usually went to Hasty Tasty (#13 on map!) a few steps away, whereas they were more tolerant of a kid...much less one who would order damned 10 cent toast, then put 3 pounds of strawberry jam packets and butters on them. Nest door was Mario's Barber Shop, it had a hypnotic barber shop pole, you know, red, white and blue strips spinning inside long tube thing. This fascinated me and wanted to take it home with me for my room, but left it alone. Where are all those stripes going thru top? Where are they coming from bottom, nothing attached to it? Mario's Barber shop (#27 ) got a lot of business not only from Coca Cola employees but also people up and down Leopard street businesses, they also did shoe shines and shaves, whole works. And shines were dime, the cost of 2 pieces of toast. Since I rarely had shoes, this eliminated me right off the bat. Kids in the neighborhood also supported this small business, Mario looked like well, Super Mario Nintendo guy with thick black moustache too.

Strange as many times that I did go into here, never got haircut. Just always went with kid friends like Mondo or Juinor Rabago, walked from next block. I used to get hair cut at home, momma put bowl on head, which looked like I had mange afterwards and got lots of flack at school for days until it grew back. There was a reason for this, had gotten haircut at Barber College across from Braslaus Furniture, and got ringworm from places, damned thing was as big as Great Red Spot on planet Jupiter, nuns sent me home so had to put iodine on it for week until went away.

photo #1 This is similar to inside Noe's Café on Leopard behind Coca Cola in 1960s. NOT Noe's just similar greasy spoon. Always seemed to be loaded with Leopard street people who worked close by. Competition for your dining dollars was fierce, with Hasty Tasty about 2 football fields away on corner of Port & Leopard & across from them, Sheffield's a big Snapka's type place. You could get big, and I mean BIG breakfast at Noe's for about $1.25. Note the Pig's Knuckles, who eats that sh*t? Gag. Ok, I will try it. Sign has 'fried eggs & sausage 25 cents' sign. So earlier than 1960s.


Photo #2. Not Noe's but also in competition for your money on a vibrant Leopard as Bunk's Café corner of Sam Rankin & Leopard directly across from Sears. Pretty much same menu as Noe's too, chili, burgers, breakfasts, note spokesman Wimpy' from Popeye cartoon 'I'll gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today' ha ha. There was yet another place to eat, SW corner of Carrizo street & Leopard, was small white building, maybe seated 20-30 people max. I have the name of it on tip of tongue, but for like of me, can't remember it. And God forbid I don't mention Chat & Chew again, which was next to Bunks!

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