Brockles Restaurant and Special Dressing

Remembering my Brockles Family, Restaurant, and Dressing

About the Special Dressing

with 11 comments

Brockles Special Dressing became the signature of the the old Brockles Restaurant in downtown Dallas.  I remember it being served as an appetizer with a wooden spoon and bowl of saltine crackers.  Mmmm, good!  This dressing became the primary product in a line of dressings produced and distributed in Texas during that time.

The label I remember most for this dressing is shown at the top of the right sidebar.  Ahhh, the memories.  People are still asking for the recipe, but so far nothing on the internet comes even close.  We still make home batches for ourselves and family.   I think I’ll go have some right now. 🙂

A Modest Beginning

The Club Cafe on South Ervay began making its own “special” salad dressing in the late 1930’s.  The recipe concocted by Bill and Andrew Brockles became quite a hit with customers.  They were continually asked if they could make it available to take home.

milkbottle.jpgIn those days, milk was delivered in pint and quart bottles.  So, Grandad decided to make use of those pint milk bottles.  They began making extra batches of the “special” dressing to fill the milk bottles and sell over the counter to customers.  Uncle Arge remembers washing out the little milk bottles, filling them with dressing, and putting wax paper over the top held on with a rubber band.

During the war, the Brockles brothers set up a production facility next-door to the restaurant, changed the name from Club Cafe to Brockles Restaurant, and began selling Brockles Special Dressing commercially. 

Below is a Dressing Exhibit at a local Trade Show — probably taken in the early 1950’s.  There were already several dressings in the Brockles line at that time.  Notice there was apparently a plate of crackers for sampling the dressings that is empty. Ha!



Written by Jim

August 23, 2007 at 7:59 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

11 Responses

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  1. I think I remember that one of the products in the dressing line was Brockles Poppyseed Dressing that was carried by Pizza Inn and distributed as far away as Peru (or Chile, but I think it was Peru). Also, for many years the Waffle House served hamburgers with Brockles Special Dressing on them. I haven’t had one lately so I don’t know what they use now. But I have fond memories of the Restaurant, the Foods Company, the State Fair of Texas exhibit and many more things about the Brockles legacy, especially the dressing and crackers, the chopped steak served with a pickled peach, the appetizer of shrimp cocktail, and the CHERRY PIE!!

    Mike Ellis

    August 23, 2007 at 9:37 pm

  2. Yep. Mike, you’re the only one I know who always wanted cherry pie instead of cake on your birthdays.


    August 24, 2007 at 5:44 am

  3. And Uncle Billy, bless his heart, loved the veal cutlet dinner…wouldn’t have anything else when we ate lunch there.

    Speaking of eating, I had dinner with Aunt Chris and Andy the other night (Greek meat balls with some fantastic sause). We talked about the old times and everyones continued interest in the Special Dressing…. they think it’s great! Of course when we talk about the Dressings we must pay homage to Uncle Tommy who ran the Dressing production through the glory years.


    August 24, 2007 at 7:30 am

  4. A picture and write-up of our grandfather and his brother, Basil, is still on display at Hemisfair in San Antionio, also.

    Mike Ellis

    August 27, 2007 at 1:54 pm

  5. Right, Mike. I added that under Granddaddy’s picture. It’s now referred to as the Texas Institute of Texan Cultures. Thanks.


    August 27, 2007 at 3:09 pm

  6. Man, nothing like Brockles Special Dressing. I’m addicted to that stuff.

    Richard E.

    August 28, 2007 at 6:38 pm

  7. Hey boys, it’s great to read your comments. A note re the label — I designed that one about 1950. I also have the Brockles History going back to about 1800. Let me know if you want a copy. There’s a great story about Uncle Bill (Dad’s bro.) when he first came to USA he rented a room with a Portuguese family also worked with some of their sons on the railroad. After a while he was shocked when his Greek friends said he was learning to speak Portuguese not English .

    Alethia Brockles Alt

    September 1, 2007 at 1:18 pm

  8. What a joy to see this blog! Just found out about it today when our Greek cousin, Gella, called me and told me about it. I have so many memories of these days – don’t forget the Open Turkey Sandwiches served at the restaurant, an old staple of my youth. Yum!

    Linda Brockles Sissel

    September 10, 2007 at 4:09 pm

  9. What about the commercial all the kids (except me) were in? And what about the exhibit at the State Fair of Texas every year? How many of those were there?

    Mike Ellis

    March 1, 2008 at 8:23 pm

  10. Wait a minute Mike, I wasn’t in it either…
    As I recall it was Jimmy, Billy and Angela.

    The Texas State Fair was GREAT! Brockles had a big exhibit booth in the foods building. We were just kids but we would help serve samples and sell jars of the Special dressing. Each jar sold would get a tube of saltine crackers and the people just loved it. In turn we would get a little money and then it was off to the Midway again.

    Chester Ellis

    April 6, 2008 at 10:13 am

  11. thank you so much for sharing your recipe. We have looked and looked for it for many years and tried to duplicate it to no avail.

    My Mother used to make her Famous Shrimp Salad using your special dressing. I cannot wait to make it for her and surprise her!!!

    thanks for sharing!

    mindy messick

    July 14, 2009 at 7:50 pm

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