Samuel's Restaurant


1949 ad for Samuel's

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351 Fisher in 2018

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Known Name(s)

Samuel's Restaurant

Address

351 Fisher Ave. Neptune, NJ

Establishment Type(s)

Restaurant

Physical Status

Extant

Description

The 1930 Sanborn insurance map depicted 351 Fisher Avenue, located in a residential district of Neptune, as an irregularly shaped, two-story frame building with a one-story front porch, and labeled the structure as a restaurant. The house, with its prominent gabled fa├žade, appeared in an ad for Samuel’s Chicken Shack in a 1949 article in The New York Age. The extant building, a residence today, retains its form, including its front porch.

Source: Sanborn Map Co., Insurance Maps of New Jersey Coast, New Jersey, Vol. 2 (1930), sheet 248; “Asbury Park Ideal Vacation Spot Now,” The New York Age, 30 July 1949.

Detailed History

William and Mary Samuels opened a restaurant – one of many on and around Springwood Avenue – in their home at 351 Fisher Avenue in Neptune in 1946. Samuels’ Chicken Shack was listed in The Green Book from 1948 to 1966 (erroneously, in 1948 and 1949, as located at 251 Fisher). A prominent ad in a 1949 article in The New York Age that announced Asbury Park as an “ideal” vacation spot for African-Americans noted the restaurant’s location just a block north of busy Springwood Avenue, the West Side’s main artery, as well a block from Asbury Park. Complete with a photo that included two women on the front porch, the ad invited people to come “Dine in an Atmosphere of Charm and Comfort” and touted “Well Prepared Food at its Best.” An ad for the nearby Carver Hotel at 312 Myrtle Avenue (also listed in The Green Book) in the same edition of The New York Age indicated that Mr. Samuels was in charge of the hotel’s restaurant at that time, as did ads in the Asbury Park Press.

The 1950 census reported that William L. Samuels was African American and born in Jacksonville, Florida. His obituary noted that he lived in Neptune for 50 years before his death, at 80, in 1979. He had retired in 1973. Mary H. Samuels, originally from Atlanta, lived in Neptune for 33 years. She died in 1973 at the age of 62.

Sources: US census, 1950; “Asbury Park Ideal Vacation Spot Now,” The New York Age, 30 July 1949; “Hotel Carver Special Full Course Sunday Dinner,” Asbury Park Press, 25 March 1949; “Mrs. William Samuels,” Asbury Park Press, 2 September 1973; “William L. Samuels,” Asbury Park Press, 9 October 1979.

 

J. Shaffer

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