Uncovering Houston

Pete and Jimmy Menutis: A legacy of integrated fun in a segregated Houston

From L – R: Left to right: William “Ham” Thomas, two bartenders, and Pete Menutis himself
Unknown photographer / 1914-1915

Pete Menutis, pictured leaning against his bar, operated an integrated saloon here in Houston. Aptly named “Pete Menutis’ Saloon,” the establishment featured white and black bartenders that served the patrons of their own respective races. While the bar was integrated for drinking, there were separate entrances/exits for White and Black patrons.

Pete Menutis died in January of 1939 at the age of 67. He left behind a wife and 5 children, one of them named Jimmy, who operated his businesses in a similar fashion to his father.

Jimmy Menutis owned and operated “Jimmy Menutis’ Lounge” at 3236 Telephone Road. This lounge, originally a theatre called “The Wayside,” booked the hottest blues and rock n’ roll stars from the late 1950’s to the mid-1960’s. Like his father, Jimmy Menutis ran an integrated business and both Black and White patrons were equally welcome for a good time.

Exterior photo of Jimmy Menutis’ establishment on Telephone Road

Below is a photo of singer Bobby “Blue” Bland performing onstage with the Joe Scott Orchestra at Jimmy Menutis’ lounge. The club owner and namesake himself is onstage rockin’ in the grey suit.

Embed from Getty Images

Chuck Berry, Little Richard, and Jerry Lee Lewis were just a few of the big names that called Jimmy’s spot home for a night. It’s safe to assume that Jimmy’s dancefloor was the hottest club in Houston during its reign.

Jimmy Menutis and his wife, Ruth
The Pecan Park Eagle / 2011

Jimmy Menutis later moved to Louisiana with his wife, Ruth, to pursue other business ventures. After living a fulfilling life, Jimmy Menutis passed away in May of 2020 at the wonderful age of 95.

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