Monday, December 26, 2011

Chicken Bar


The Chicken Bar opened about October 1942 on 1600 Commerce St. across the street from Neiman Marcus. It was the latest venture of a young Tyler oilman, J. Curtis Sanford, who was a kind of "Mark Cuban" of his time. He had been a boxing promoter, and he had initiated the first New Year's Day Cotton Bowl football game in 1937. He had also brought two top tennis players to play indoors at the Fair Park Livestock Arena, one of the most spectacular indoor sporting events to take place in Dallas (obviously pre-Mavs). Sanford switched gears after he was sold some chicks in 1941 and began raising them on the grounds of his colonial-style home near White Rock Lake . He decided the best way to make money was to fry those chickens fer eatin'. Sanford would eventually open six Chicken Bars before quitting the business about 1947.

Sanford's biggest endeavor in the chicken business was probably the $300,000 Chicken Bar #6 at Commerce & Industrial, which opened in 1946 and featured rooftop dancing and accommodations for 1100 customers. Sanford died in 1972.

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