coney island cafe


    Sam Houston, President of the Republic of Texas, initially granted the land where the Coney Island sits to The Society for the Protection of German Emigrants to Texas.  On April 1, 1850, by Judgment of the United States District Court for the District of Texas, Henry F. Fisher and Burchard Miller were awarded all rights to the property where the buildings now sit.  From that point forward, the property passed through the hands of a number of prominent local figures.  Names such as Sherwood, Schleicher and Bart DeWitt (founder of the City of San Angelo) appear in the deed records.

    On January 13, 1886, Louis Schwartz and Joseph C. Raas sold the property that is now 214 S. Chadbourne to W.A. Guthrie and F.O. Perry.  The building now at 214 S. Chadbourne was designed by famed San Angelo Architect, Oscar Ruffini, and built in 1905.  In 1906 W.A. Guthrie leased the Coney Island building to J.C. Remington for use as a Billiard Parlor.

    In March of 1928, the North half of the 214 S. Chadbourne building was leased to Mr. H.E. Harris for use as a Barbershop.  Also in 1928, the South half was leased to J.F. Bond for use as a Butcher shop.  In 1941, when the Coney Island was sold to Gust Moutos, the babershop was closed to make way for the Coney Island Cafe.  When the iron columns in the front of the Coney Island Cafe were uncovered during restoration, it was discovered that they had once been painted with the distinctive candy-stripe to serve as barber poles.

    Gust Moutos, an immigrant to this country from Greece, first opened the Coney Island Cafe at its 214 S. Chadbourne location in 1942.  The cafe was operated continuously by Gust until his death in January of 1965.  Gust’s picture can be seen hanging on the wall in a photograph taken in 1912, during the Balkan wars, standing proudly in his uniform of the Greek Army.  In 1989, Eva Moutos-Choate (granddaughter of Gust Moutos) and her husband Guy Choate purchased the building at 214 S. Chadbourne from Gust’s children, Catherine Broome and Dr. M. G. Moutos, and have restored it to its present condition.  Most of the fixtures you see in the building today were originally in use at the Coney Island Cafe.

coney island history