Seabrook Classic Cafe: Former El Lago mayor spends 34 years serving community

The Jalapeno Burger ($9.50), also known as the Benson Burger, includes jalapeños, horseradish, cheese and mayonnaise. (Photos by Alex Grant/Community Impact Newspaper)
The Jalapeno Burger ($9.50), also known as the Benson Burger, includes jalapeños, horseradish, cheese and mayonnaise. (Photos by Alex Grant/Community Impact Newspaper)

The Jalapeno Burger ($9.50), also known as the Benson Burger, includes jalapeños, horseradish, cheese and mayonnaise. (Photos by Alex Grant/Community Impact Newspaper)

Image description
The Heart Salad ($11) includes Arcadian spring salad mix with a walnut oil vinaigrette dressing, topped with walnuts and sun dried cranberries, with a choice of goat, gorgonzola or feta cheese and chicken, shrimp or fish.
Image description
The Fried Shrimp Platter ($16.50), the most popular item, includes nine fried shrimp served with fries and coleslaw.
Image description
Brad Emel opened Seabrook Classic Cafe in 1985.
For locals, Seabrook Classic Cafe has been a fixture in the Bay Area for over 30 years. Brad Emel, owner and founder of the restaurant, estimates that over 6,000 regular customers visit the restaurant at least once every month. He believes the key to his success is consistency.

The restaurant, primarily serving American-style food and comfort food, opened in September 1985. Though the menu has undergone changes to follow trends over the years, customers can order the same quality dishes they have the past three decades, Emel said.

“Whatever you eat today, you can come back in three weeks, and it’ll be exactly the same,” he said.

Popular items served include the jalapeno burger, chicken-fried steak and the fried shrimp platter. The platter is the restaurant’s most popular dish and is successful because of its preparation, Emel said. Instead of breading the shrimp in bulk and storing it in a freezer like many restaurants do, the shrimp at Seabrook Classic Cafe is breaded fresh for each order, he said.

Emel got his start working in the restaurant industry after leaving his studies at Oklahoma University in the late 1960s to work at a restaurant two months prior to its opening in Dallas.


He learned about various aspects of starting a restaurant, from the construction to the managerial work. During that time, Emel gained invaluable knowledge that later benefited him greatly in his career, he said.

“I dropped out of college and worked at a restaurant where I got the education of a lifetime,” Emel said.

Two years later, Emel opened up his first restaurant. He eventually sold his share and moved to Houston. After a few years of working as a restaurant manager and opening an eatery in League City that was later sold, Emel opened Seabrook Classic Cafe.

Emel, who also served as mayor of El Lago from 2001-14, is proud to be part of local history, but he hopes to connect with the upcoming generation by launching a trendy menu featuring poke bowls and banh mi. Emel also plans to turn the building neighboring the restaurant into a coffee shop.

“You gotta go with the trends,” Emel said. “We started off grassroots, and we’re going back.”

<

MOST RECENT

Mayor Sylvester Turner said July 13 that he would like to see a two-week stay-home order in Houston. (Courtesy HTV)
Houston coronavirus updates: Mayor Turner seeking two-week shutdown; 1 in 4 tests coming back positive

Mayor Turner made a series of announcements July 13 related to COVID-19 precautions.

Public health officials in Houston and Harris County reported that 2,001 new cases of COVID-19 were confirmed July 13, a new single-day record for the county. (Community Impact staff)
Harris County coronavirus count: 2,001 cases, 8 deaths confirmed July 13

Public health officials in Houston and Harris County reported that 2,001 new cases of COVID-19 were confirmed July 13, a new single-day record for the county.

A Cy-Fair ISD employee distributes meals via curbside pickup for district students during the summer. (Courtesy Cy-Fair ISD)
'Community Impact Newspaper' seeks feedback and more Houston-area business, community news

Read the latest Houston-area business and community news here.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, shown here in March, announced July 13 the U.S. Department of Defense would provide additional resource to help Texas combat COVID-19. (Brian Rash/Community Impact Newspaper)
Department of Defense task forces deployed to help Texas combat COVID-19

Gov. Greg Abbott announced July 13 the U.S. Department of Defense would provide more resources to Texas to combat the rise of COVID-19.

A Cy-Fair ISD employee distributes meals via curbside pickup for district students during the summer. (Courtesy Cy-Fair ISD)
'Community Impact' now seeking feedback from parents, teachers regarding 2020-21 school year

Help us adequately cover local education by submitting feedback here:

The Texas Republican Convention was originally scheduled for July 16-18. (Courtesy Visit Houston)
Texas Supreme Court rejects GOP appeal to host convention in Houston

The potentially 6,000-person event has drawn criticism in recent weeks from officials who perceive it as a threat to public safety.

Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo spoke about the county's continuing response to COVID-19 and a new small-business coronavirus relief program at a July 13 press conference. (Screenshot via Harris County Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management)
Harris County now accepting applications for $30M small-business assistance program

Harris County businesses with fewer than 30 employees may apply for funding through July 24.

July 10 had 310 new cases—the highest amount in a single day since the pandemic reached the county. (Community Impact Staff)
Galveston County sees over 550 cases heading into weekend

July 10 had 310 new cases—the highest amount in a single day since the pandemic reached the county.

The seven-day rolling average of deaths per day in Harris County has increased from 3.86 on July 8 to 8.29 on July 12. (Community Impact Staff)
Harris County coronavirus count: After three weeks of surging cases, death toll starts to rise

The seven-day rolling average of deaths per day in Harris County has increased from 3.86 on July 8 to 8.29 on July 12.

Texas Commissioner of Education Mike Morath announced in a June 30 State Board of Education meeting that students will be taking the STAAR in the 2020-21 school year. (Courtesy Pixabay)
Education organizations call for STAAR requirements to be waived another year

Gov. Greg Abbott waived the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness, or STAAR, testing requirements in March of earlier this year in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

With a clinical background in internal, pulmonary and critical care medicine, Corry has been with BCM for 20 years. He now focuses primarily on inflammatory lung diseases, such as asthma and smoking-related chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases. (Graphic by Ronald Winters/Community Impact Newspaper)
Q&A: Baylor College of Medicine's Dr. David Corry discusses immunity, vaccine production amid COVID-19 pandemic

Rapid development and distribution of a vaccine worldwide and successful achievement of herd immunity will be key players in determining the lifespan of the COVID-19 pandemic, said Dr. David Corry, a professor of Medicine in the Immunology, Allergy and Rheumatology Section at Baylor College of Medicine.