Hwy 90, as it is today, did not exist when Misse’s began!! And our own Lincoln Street address was once the Old Spanish Trail … and that is where the Misse’s story started.
Around the turn of the 20th century, Mr. & Mrs. William Khoury opened a grocery store at the corner of Lincoln and Huntington. Tragedy came, taking the life of Mrs. Khoury when a heater exploded. The couple’s 13-year-old daughter, Najieta went to work for her father. At the same time, hard times were falling on the Misse family in Lebanon and two of the older children traveled to the United States. Daughter Suzie immigrated and came to Sulphur, LA, where she would eventually become the second wife of Mr. William Khoury… and the first link between the two families was formed.
George, the Misse brother, relocated to Rio de Janeiro, opening a dry goods story. In 1935, on a vacation to the U.S. to visit Suzie, George met Najieta – the Khoury’s daughter. After a whirlwind romance, the couple married in Beaumont. Honeymooning in Brazil, the couple wished to return to the United States but would need assistance from Najieta’s father: a part of the business and someone to vouch for his character.
At this time, Khoury had stopped his business and was leasing the storefront to H.P. Hebert, founder of the Southwest Builder newspaper. Hebert found another location for the paper, and things were readied for the Misses. And so, less than two weeks after returning to the U.S., Misse’s opened as a “car-hop.” Nickel hamburgers and cokes were the main draw, but a few canned goods (bought a dozen at a time) were also on the store shelves and milk came from the Stelly dairy farm, just south of Our Lady of Prompt Succor Church on Ruth Street.
Everyone worked … the entire Misse family – father, mother and three children – Georgette, James and Henry. Soon they outgrew the little store … James and Henry bought their father out and built another store directly behind the wooden building that had served the family for so long.
One of the top criteria for Misse’s – then and now – was excellent meat selection. James also decided to add a deli – travelling, sampling, asking and developing the right recipes for the family store. An early creation was a meatloaf called “French delight” … followed by sausages and boudins. Najieby Misse also learned to make kibbe and her treats were a definite hit in the “new” store!!
In 1977, the Misses purchased the Augustine building across the street from the store the family was currently running. James acted as designer and Henry as general contractor for the third store, which still pays tribute to and features a portrait of their founders – George and Najieby. And so the store founded by George Misse as a small neighborhood grocery has grown to its present 13,000 square foot location – across from where it began.
And even today, Misse’s is like a large family where everyone does his share … and all are welcome!!