Elite Cafe 2

Elite Cafe

The site of Montgomery’s renowned Elite Cafe (pronounced E-lite) at 121 Montgomery Street. It opened in 1910 and during its 1940s-‘50s heyday, it was known region wide. In that era, all the guests at the numerous masked balls would reassemble here after the dance was over and continue the revelry on into the night.

Old Elite CafeAt right is a picture of the famous café as it appeared in the 1940s, bounded by Al Levy’s clothing store on its right, and by the derided Crystal Café on its left.

As a 24-year old bachelor and newcomer in 1951, I would sometimes eat lunch at the counter in the Elite lounge area, but more often I would go around the corner on Lee Street to its less-grand back-door companion eatery (shared kitchen), where I could get a gourmet lunch for 75-cents.

The Elite was noted for its steakes and seafood, and I recall a live lobster tank just inside the front entrance.

Interior Elite Cafe

Elite Cafe Dining Room

-Charles Humphries

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2 thoughts on “Elite Cafe

  • Karyn Hamel

    Some of the best memories of my childhood were spent in the Elite Cafe.
    My Dad,Jack Hamel, and Ed Xides were very close friends.
    They had been in WW11 together.
    When the boys came home after the war and were going to school on the GI bill,Ed would take them down
    to his Dad and feed them.
    My Dad never forgot that and was always very loyal to Ed and the family.
    I have such happy memories of Ed taking my sister and I back in the kitchen and feeding us while the adults had their “cocktails ”
    I can taste that food till this day and I will always cherish those memories!

    • Pete Pappas

      I have fond memories of eating at the Elite as a child with my parents in the 1960s and 1970s, then I was off to college and moved away and never went back, and that’s a shame. The lemon caper snapper was the best I’ve ever had and I loved the cocktail monkeys! Good times.