Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The Blue Front

One of the oldest and longest continously operating restaurants in Dallas, The Blue Front was located in a narrow blue-painted brick building at 1105 Elm Street. William G. "Papa" Schliepake was a German immigrant who started the place in 1877. He died in 1956, but his son Willie carried on as owner and chef. The family continued to run the restaurant until at least 1975, when it seems to have relocated to one of the underground venues on a revamped Elm St. There are no current listings for either the cafe or the Schliepake family in the current tax records.

Paul Crume, who wrote the "Big D" column for the Dallas Morning News for 24 years, had this to say about The Blue Front in 1960:
        They have said of Willie Schliepake that he is the only bull with his own china shop. Willie is chef at the incomparable Blue Front restaurant, and he is not inclined to look with charity on any variation in the quality of the polish sausages or he customers.
        The Blue Front, of course, is on lower Elm Street. A customer came in during the week from the upper part of town and complained about the trouble he had in parking.
        "Willie, why don't you have a parking lot?" he asked.
        Willie greeted the suggestion with a scornful humph.
        "If we had a parking lot," he said, "we wouldn't need a restaurant." 

11 comments:

  1. I miss the Blue Front. According to the "history" in the restaurant (after it moved underground), it was originally a bar that served sandwiches. Nothing was mentioned of Willie, but the daughters inherited the bar. Dallas didn't "approve" of women owning a bar, so they made it a restaurant. My favorite meal, although quite simple, was boiled german sausage, boiled potatoes, navy beans, and russian rye bread. This was probably 1979 - 1981. I went back in 1987 and it was gone.

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  2. I worked in the Kirby building in 1981 and The Blue Front (underground version) was one of our favorite places for lunch.

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  3. The Bluefront was owned by William Schlepak, a germqan emigrant. My father and Willie (the son) were good friends Willie served in the Navy during WW2. I remember in 1946, ( I was 10 years old) the war was over and we went to a party welcoming Willie back from the war. I remember Mr. Schlepak saying that if he remained in Germany,he would probably have been killed.

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  4. In 1950-1951 (untill I went into the Army) I worked at a paint store a few doors down Elm St. in the same block (1100) Ate there often. Papa sat on a stool and watched etc. Mama was at the cash register, Willie carved the meats and made sandwiches etc. The several daughters all waited tables. Often the girls all sang songs (usually in German)while they worked. My favorite sandwich was Hot Gernan potato Salad and sliced brisket on a bagette.

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  5. I worked at The Dallas Times Herald in the early 1980's and ate at the Blue Front underground often. I have never had potato salad as good as the Blue Front's even to this day. The daughters who were up in years themselves, would often fuss at one another and very openly while working! This was Dallas at its biggest in the early '80's and sightings of Larry Hagman or other "Ewings" was common in the tunnels or above ground at Brennan's.

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  6. I ate my first meal at The (original)Blue Front in 1953 when I was 15. Mama worked the register and Willie was carving. He had put on a few pounds since he was Ginger Rogers charleston partner. The old building was torn down when the First Natl Bk built its new building on Elm. They moved to a street level location and then went underground. They had a few tables and chairs from the orig place that they tried to set aside for old timers. Yes the girls could be vocal at times. They were legging tables at age 80 or better.

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  7. The original Blue Front was my grandfather's favorite place to go for lunch. I was there with him and my grandmother many times in the mid '40s. Really loved their rice pudding. The staff was terrific and I can still remember the wonderful smells and the noises.

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  8. My grandfathers family owned the Blue Front

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  9. I use to go thier as a kid alot because my father was a long time cook thier from the mid-70's to late 80's. All the sisters were real kind and lovely family and they treated us like family as well. Time will always keep on going but our memories will always be cherished.

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  10. The Blue Front above ground was the real thing.

    Willie and his sisters kept the reality, in spirit, when they moved underground, but it was never quite the same, when they did.

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  11. I worked there between 1967 until they moved underground . I was about 17years old. Wash dishes and helped in the kitchen. Sometimes worked up front. Remember seeing some Dallas Cowboys and professional wrestlers eating there. Remember Willie and his sisters singing for the customers sometimes.

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