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If there is one restaurant in the Island that all locals and tourists know, it is Snoopy's Pier. Some even head straight there before even going home or checking in to their vacation rental. It’s almost like a right of passage. This long-standing and successfully tasty restaurant has a history and certainly decades of Snoopy’s Groupies.
Originally build as John Bean fishing pier, this spot was popular for many years as a gathering place. The restaurant as it stands was born out of the Redfish Wars, where in the late '70s, redfish numbers began to decline due to overfishing. A battle ensued over commercial fishing rights in the waterways and bay systems of Texas. Threats, vandalism, and arson resulted in the legislative showdown that became Texas House Bill 1000. Signed into law in 1981, this bill turned redfish into "game fish," and illegal to sell if harvested from Texas waters. As with many commercial fishermen in the late 70's and early 80's, owners Ernie and Corliss Butler realized the Wars signaled the beginning of the end of the commercial fishing industry in our waters. The Butler’s were operating the pier at the time, and when the owner decided to sell in 1980, they were there to buy! Corliss says “It was on a whim!”
But Snoopy’s didn’t go from pier to notable restaurant overnight. The Butler’s began by moving the pier more inland at first, and then after about 5 years, they just did away with the pier all together. Ernie, now cooking the seafood as opposed to fishing for it, had family and friends pitch in their favorite recipes, and the menu was born.
Proud to serve local harvested and quality seafood at affordable prices, it’s no wonder the masses flock with the seagulls to Snoopy’s. Their on-site fish house and shrimp breading facility allows the owners and chefs to monitor and control the quality and freshness of the coveted seafood.
If you haven’t already, treat yourself to the fish tacos. Way back when, a high schooler worked at the family establishment, went on to college, would find himself back at Snoopy’s managing customer service. He decided to give culinary school a shot, and once again, found himself back at Snoopy’s for his apprenticeship. For the program’s final, they have to develop a dish using items already in the kitchen. Wala! The famous fish tacos were born. They’ll typically use whatever the catch of the day is, and it’s been mahi mahi for a while now.
From failed fishery to the fry pan, there’s nothing but waterfront goodness at Snoopy’s Pier. “We started out with what it was and grew with it,” Corliss says. Although the pier is gone, the restaurant remains an important pillar to the community.