El Shrimp Bucket

Being a good Texas boy, my only exposure to Mexico had been to the sleezy border towns and now, in 1971, to see the budding metropolis of Mazatlan, its traffic, 500,000 inhabitants, beautiful harbor and recent awakening to Gringo tourists, was a real eye opener.

My first trip’s accommodations were at the Playa Mazatlan, the “primo” spot in town. Right on the beach, clean rooms, but no air conditioning and once you got past the night sounds of Mexico, music, horns, laughter and the roaring surf, you slept like a log.

Sleeping in the first morning “south of the border”, getting up and renting a “Yeep”, a Volkswagen Monster, we headed south from the Playa Mazatlan to the harbor to set up a fishing trip. On the way to the harbor, on the left, as we rounded a long curve, there, on the corner of the first floor of a multi story building, was “El shrimp Bucket”. “I’ve got to stop there,” I shouted as I did a “uwey” and parked right in front.

There was a big patio inside the building, like the atriums we have now in our prime office spaces, and to the left was “El Shrimp Bucket”. Little did I know that the patio was part of the restaurant, but 12 years later I would witness a very strange display in that very patio, which is, as they say, another story.

Entering and picking a booth with an ocean view, I checked the menu. A bucket of shrimp for $4.95US and since it was 10:45 AM, why not have lunch. Lunch was served and mine was a full bucket of fried shrimp, not as good as Christie’s in Houston, but probably the second best. Fried onion rings and Guacamole was served separately, and washed down with Margaritas, this was a feast!

As we were leaving, I noticed a picture of John Wayne hanging over the door and he had signed the picture, as best I remember, “Best shrimp ever! Duke”.

El Shrimp Bucket became my headquarters in Mazatlan, but I never saw “Duke” there.