The word “calabash” has a meaning that pertains to gourds or tropical trees/vines. What is the name and date origin for the wonderful seafood restaurant community Calabash?
A. Pea Landing was a thriving coastal trading center and fishing village in the early 1800s, built around Hickory Hall Plantation by the Samuel Frink family.
The calabash is a gourd that was commonly used as a ladle. There were so many wells with drinking gourds around them that the area became known as Calabash. The post office began officially recognizing the name in 1883.
In the 1930’s The Beck family and the Coleman family started fish camp style restaurants. It was there that Calabash style seafood was born when they started frying the fish and shrimp and fish in cornmeal batter. The popularity of this style spread rapidly and there have been dozens of restaurants opened featuring Calabash-style seafood cooking.
Legend has it that entertainer Jimmy Durante passed through the area in the 1940s and took a liking to the food and the folks. Soon afterwards he adopted his trademark sign off “Good night Mrs. Calabash wherever you are.” There several claimants to his Mrs. Calabash, Lucy Coleman, Ella High, and to his own first wife Jeanne Olson. Who ever it was Jimmy Durante brought attention to the town and the food has kept them there ever since.
Date posted: February 22, 2013
User-contributed question by: