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#HARVEY: Bittersweet memories as Crofutt's owner recalls the day her dream was destroyed

Crofutt's memories.png
Posted at 5:21 PM, Aug 24, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-25 09:37:23-04

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — For the locals and those who passed through Bayside, it was a “must stop.”

"I put a sign on the door that said we were closed for Harvey ‘We will see you on Sunday, maybe,’ ” said Lorraine Short, former co-owner of Crofutt's Sandwich and Bakery. “That sign made it through the storm, but Sunday was never going to come."

Crofutt's Sandwich and Bakery was one of many businesses destroyed when Hurricane Harvey made landfall along the Texas coast.

Four years later, remnants of the once-popular Bayside staple can barely be seen.

"There was a lot of anxiety among people,” she said. “They were leaving, and they were evacuating, so we were busy." Short was majority owner of Crofutt's, and remembers the day Hurricane Harvey changed the lives of so many around her like it was yesterday.

She chose to stay open the day Harvey hit, but as the Category 4 hurricane neared the Coastal Bend, she knew it was time to head for safety."Finally, I think around 2:30 it became clear -- we better close and let everyone go home," she recalls.Short didn’t realize it would be the final time she would welcome customers in for a meal."I remember telling one of our regulars, you better enjoy this,” she said. “This may be your last Crofutt's ham-and-cheese sandwich. Sort of jokingly and that turned out to be real."But no one expected what happened next.

Harvey completely destroyed the local eatery.

Walls and portions of the roof were missing, as the restaurant was barely left standing, but choosing not to rebuild and reopen was a tough decision.

Short’s staff and regulars were more than customers, or employees -- they were family."Another thing that was hard is we knew everybody through at least three, and sometime four generations, of a family,” she said. “And now we can't keep up with them."

Crofutt's Sandwich and Bakery stayed true to its name for its 40-year run.

It was known by just about everyone for their sandwiches with homemade bread, cookies and cinnamon rolls.

But it was the sense of family that kept regulars coming in.Already in her late 60's, Short said starting over would take too much work.

For now, she just remembers the memories that were made. And when Harvey hit, the dreams that were lost.